Friday, September 30, 2016

Adventures on the Queen Mary...tales of a teenage crew member! - Dave Wooders with James Radford

Summary: Take an exciting trip back in time to the Golden Age of Ocean Travel on board the world's favorite liner -- the RMS Queen Mary. Enjoy a visual feast of new and archival photographs, many never before published. At 16 years of age, in 1957, Dave Wooders worked as a bellboy on the Queen Mary!

(Summary from goodreads.com and pic from amazon.com)

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: I was originally interested in this book because my Granny rode over on the Queen Mary from Scotland during World War II as a war bride. (Is that not cool? I mean, come on. That’s awesome.) Anyway, I was super excited, hoping that there would be some insights into what it was like to ride on the Queen Mary as a war bride. Although I did talk to my Granny quite a bit about her life while she was alive, I didn’t get to ask a lot of details, mostly because I was young and didn’t really know what to ask. I wish I could go back in time and ask her lots of different stuff. She had a fascinating life. The moral of this story: ask your grandparents about their lives—in detail—before they’re gone. Okay. Now onto the book.

This book was not about the Queen Mary during the time it was a warship or the time it carried war brides. It’s actually about the ship after all of this, starting in the late fifties. By this time it had been restored to its former glory and was a beautiful sailing ship with excellent, world-class accommodations, and famous people riding it back and forth. Now, although I do wish that I had known more about the Queen Mary as a ship when she carried the war brides across the ocean to their new lives, this book was still really interesting. It doesn’t go into a lot of history about the Queen Mary. There are definitely tidbits here and there, and there are some great nuggets of info that I think would only be discussed in a memoir-type situation and for that it was really cool. I really enjoyed the human element of the story. This man obviously had an incredible time serving on the Queen Mary (in different service-oriented capacities) and it was fun to read about his experiences. I’m pretty sure that there are tons of information-based books that only discuss the Queen Mary and her long history as a luxury liner and her successful history as a warship (including the war brides). So this isn’t that book.

The writing is very memoir-like. Wooders is obviously a really nice man, and I really appreciated his gratitude for all things in life as well as his happy and upbeat outlook. Because it’s a memoir, there’s repetition here and there about various things, but it’s not like I felt like there wasn’t tons of new information in every chapter. He has a lot of fun stories and experiences to share, and it was fun to read about them.

One of the strengths of this book is the pictures. It really has a ton of pictures in it and I loved that. I really felt like I knew about the ship—what it looked like then, what it looks like now, etc., from the pictures and his descriptions. It’s just a fun little book to have.

Wooders’ love of the Queen Mary is infectious. I really learned to love the ship and although I’ve wanted to go and see it because of my Granny’s war bride history, now I would really like to go and would appreciate the luxury liner that it was and still is, even if it is permanently docked. I fully plan on eating at the famous brunch and maybe even staying on the ship/hotel.

If you love the Queen Mary or just want to know more about her from the perspective of one who worked there, this is an excellent book. The pictures are great and the stories are a lot of fun.


My Review: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book is clean.

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