Book Review: The Rat in the Python by Alex Craigie #growing up in the 1950s # Baby Boomers

I was very intrigued by the title of this book and didn’t hesitate to purchase it because the author is a great writer.

It begins, “If you haven’t heard of a liberty bodice, believe that a half crown is something to do with impoverished royalty and never had the experience of slapping a television to stop the grainy black and white picture from polling, then this series might not be for you.”

I didn’t know what a liberty bodice was but the other two items were familiar, so I knew I would enjoy this book. And quite frankly, I think it should be required reading for Gen X and the Millennials. There’s a lot of history, some amusing and some deadly serious, packed in.

The title refers to the fact that the Baby Boomers created a statistical bulge post World War II in the normally steady measure of population. And I am part of that bulge!

Even though I am not a British citizen, many similar household products, home décor, and appliances described by the author resonate with what I experienced. Linoleum floors, Formica countertops, TVs with grainy pictures that could only be sharpened by beating on it or spending a half hour moving the antennae around or adding tin foil to the ‘ears,’ – all these things I recalled with a smile.

My mother’s washing machine jiggled across the floor on the spin cycle and had a mangle attached to one side to squeeze the water out of the clothes before they were hung outside to dry. We had indoor plumbing, but my grandmother’s house had a coal chute for the load of coal delivered to fire the coal furnace in the basement. I recall the overwhelming odor of paint and the petticoats on dressing tables, power puffs, the icy chill of rooms upstairs and leaky hot water bottles. The author treats all of these things with clarity and a wonderful sense of humor.

She also deals with tougher topics – the long duration of rationing in the UK after the war, the abysmal lack of housing due to the bombing and short-sightedness of the government, overcrowding, squalor, and cheap construction. Those of you watching Call the Midwife from its first season on PBS have been introduced to this.

I enjoyed reading this book and I learned a lot, too, even as a Baby Boomer. I highly recommend it to others of our generation but to everyone else as well.

About the Author:

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power. She has lived for many years in a peaceful village between Pembroke and Tenby in southwest Wales, with a wonderful family all living locally.  She was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back. When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had several other books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller, and suspense against a backdrop of social issues psychological thriller.

You can find Alex Craigie


The Rat in the Python and the author’s other books can be found on Amazon.



4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rat in the Python by Alex Craigie #growing up in the 1950s # Baby Boomers”

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Noelle. I also thought it was relatable, even for an American. The particularly British experiences were fascinating and not things that I’d thought about. Congrats to Trish on another excellent review. 🙂

    1. I learned a lot, too, from what Trish wrote. I am gradually accumulating more historical knowledge from the books I am reading. Whatever I learned in college is long gone!

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