Book Review: Pavlovas to Popcorn by Ruth Frost

Publisher: Community Books, Darling Heights, Qld.

Review by Hazel Barker

Ruth Frost’s Pavlovas to Popcorn made me feel I had accompanied her on the voyage from Sydney to San Francisco in 1946.  Her simple colloquial style of writing drew me within her circle of friends, embarrassing me whenever she defied authority, and admiring her for her sense of humour and kind heartedness.

Ruth’s voice rings clear and true as she tells the story of her voyage on the SS David C. Shanks as a war bride.

Her early life and her amnesia are related in a series of flashbacks, leaving the reader with a sense of bewilderment and mystery.  It is not until much later that one discovers the cause of Ruth’s amnesia.

The second part of the book moves smoothly and unhurriedly across the United States from San Francisco to South Dakota and on to Dumon, New Jersey, relating the happenings, the hardships and happiness experienced by Ruth and Bill in their early married years, told in her own humorous style.

The author writes lightly of her hardships and her ‘monthly’ at the age of 13 when she thought she was ‘bleeding to death’, and the time she started smoking when she had been ‘covered in glass splinters’ while the ambulance attendants made her ‘sit in the gutter’ and ‘picked out the glass splinters.’

The anecdote of Margaret, the German war bride, is particularly harrowing.  Margaret had been reported to the Gestapo for supposedly plotting some conspiracy.  The results were devastating.

Although a professional edit would have greatly improved the book, Ruth Frost’s Pavlovas to Popcorn, with its recurring theme of courage and perseverance, is definitely an interesting read.


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