Thursday, 13 January 2022

LUCKY JACK by S Bavey @SueBavey

 out of 5 stars

On Amazon (universal link)
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: via Rosie Amber's Review Blog

In a Nutshell: A biography of Sue Bavey's paternal grandfather, though written in Jack Roger's first person voice.  He and Sue were very close.

This is such a great project to have undertaken; Sue says she wanted to get Jack's story down for her own children, and generations to come.  

It's a charming book, starting with London life in the late Victorian times - Jack was one of those rare people who have actually lived in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  At one time he was officially Britain's oldest man, and at the age of 103 co-wrote a column for the Lincolnshire Echo for a while.

Although this memoir covers some tragic times, such as the two world wars, it is mostly kept to a lighthearted vein, though I have to say that the section I found most memorable was his time in a German POW camp during WW1, when he and his friends suffered hardship we cannot even imagine in these times.  I also found the chapter about living in the flight path of Heathrow Airport oddly poignant; he talks of a time before, when seeing planes take off was a novelty for him and his wife, only to find, later, that living in its immediate vicinity was no joke.  I felt sad to think of the pub he loved which, of course, disappeared under all that concrete.

An interesting surprise for me was that Jack opened his surgical boot making business in 1920, at a premises in Goldhawk Road, Stamford Brook, which is in Hammersmith, North London.  My mother was born in 1926 and, until the late 1940s, lived in her family home in Vaughan Avenue, Stamford Brook - which happens to be just off Goldhawk Road - I looked up a street map of the area.  So Mum must have known of Jack's shop; she may have even met him!  Small world indeed.

(Note 18 Jan:  She did, and more!  Please see HERE for the stuff I found out.)

The secret of Jack's long, healthy and lucky life seems, from what I read in this book, to have been his positive attitude and adaptability, taking the enormous changes in the 106 years of his life in his stride.  We can only imagine what it must be like to have seen so, so many changes in the world.  I bow with respect.


  1. I do love it when readers find a connection in a book that they read.

  2. Nice review and what a connection! Our lives are full of serendipity!

    1. I know, isn't that odd? I've been seeking out lots of photos of the Vaughan Avenue since :D

  3. I bought this book yesterday and have already started reading it. How amazing that you should have such a close link to him.