It’s not very often that I review an autobiography on this blog but today I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Dame Vera Lynn: Some Sunny Day. I would usually share the blurb with you, however, as it’s an autobiography, it doesn’t have that. Instead here is a little bit more information about who Vera Lynn is…
The Blurb (of sorts)
Born Vera Welch in 1917, Dame Vera Lynn’s career began at just seven years old when she sang professionally in East End Working Men’s Clubs. A successful radio career with Joe Loss and Charlie Kunz in the 1920s and ’30s followed – but it was with World War 2 that she became famous.
With her radio show “Sincerely Yours”, Vera connected emotionally with the men fighting for their country and those left behind praying for their loved ones, and became know as “The Forces’ Sweetheart”. Performing the songs she will forever be associated with – “We’ll Meet Again” and “The White Cliffs of Dover” among others – Vera toured Egypt, India and Burma with the Entertainment National Services Association, bringing the troops a sense of “back home”. But what she saw out there affected her profoundly.
Some Sunny Day gives a vivid portrait of Britain at war and tells the unique story of one woman who came to symbolize the heart of a nation…
Her career after the war flourished, but Vera never left behind her wartime role. Still heavily involved with veteran and other charities, this is Dame Vera’s extraordinary story of her life and her war – from bombs and rations to broadcasts and air raids, and the searing heat of her appearances abroad.
Dame Vera Lynn: Some Sunny Day – My Review
Vera Lynn and her music has always played quite a large part in my life. My great auntie Mary was a huge fan of her music. Every chance she got, she would sing some of her songs. It never quite sounded the same as Vera’s version – what with Mary’s broad Somerset twang. Nevertheless, I have so many fond memories of that.
Added to that, my nan on the other side of my family not only loves Vera’s music, but she also had a connection that went deeper. Her dad was one of the Burma boys who sat and listened to one of Vera’s many concerts. He even got to meet her where she signed an autograph. This was then sent back to my nan when she was still a child. Throughout my childhood, nan would get out this signed piece of paper to show me. She was still as proud as ever that her dad had managed to get it.
For me, Vera’s music is timeless…
Yes I might be biased because I grew up listening to her music. The music might not be the “in thing” or in the charts anymore. But when you strip right back to the lyrics, the same messages of love and hope are there. Those messages can help you through difficult times. Maybe that is why the Queen chose to mention the song during her speech in the pandemic.
Despite the blurb mentioning this is a story about her life and her war, through reading this book, I discovered that it is about so much more than that. It really showcases what the music scene was like back then. How it took a lot of hard work and long hours to make something of yourself. Vera started out at a time when her biggest goal was to be part of the biggest band in Britain. Throughout the book, you can see how music was evolving and not just the sound of it. How variety shows, hugely popular at the start of Vera’s career soon phased out in the 50s and 60s. Of course these were to be replaced by TV and concerts.
One thing that really struck me as different was how she could be Vera Lynn at a show but then get the bus home because nobody took any notice of what she looked like. People all knew and loved her voice on the radio and yet there was an anonymous element to her life for quite some time. That is something I don’t think we will ever see again, where music is concerned anyway.
Of course I was really hooked on Vera’s memories of Burma. Just to know that one of “the boys” she talked off was my great grandad will always keep that connection close. It was fascinating to read her experiences and hearing about a different side to the story. Vera’s version isn’t about fighting a war in some faraway country. Instead it’s her being a link to home, to those boys who are not sure they will ever see their families again. She wanted to go somewhere others hadn’t, because she didn’t want those men to feel forgotten about.
Whether or not you’re a fan a Vera Lynn, I’d definitely recommend you reading this book. It certainly gives an incite into a different world. It’s one that has been largely forgotten about but it one that has got us to where we are today. There is a lot of “just getting on with it” and making the best of things attitude that really inspired me as I was reading Some Sunny Day. By reading this book, it really taught me to appreciate the small things in life and be grateful for the things that you already have. With current events happening in the world right now, that lesson means so much more. Dame Vera Lynn Some Sunny Day is definitely a must read!