Empowering Narratives: 5 Autobiographies by Remarkable Women 

Autobiographies have long served as powerful tools for individuals to share their life stories, triumphs, and challenges. In recent times, autobiographies penned by influential women have captured readers’ attention, providing a unique glimpse into the lives of these remarkable women. In celebration of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we revisited the works of some of the world’s most inspiring women.  

Becoming by Michelle Obama  

The former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, takes readers on an intimate journey through her life in “Becoming.” From her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her experiences in the White House, Obama shares her personal growth, struggles, and the profound impact of public service, whilst also discussing topics such as race, identity, and the vital role of education.  

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai 

In her autobiography, “I Am Malala”, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai recounts her courageous fight for girls’ education in Pakistan and surviving a Taliban assassination attempt. This powerful narrative explores the resilience of a young girl who defied odds and became a global symbol of activism. Malala’s dedication to education in the face of oppressive forces becomes the central theme, as the autobiography provides a harrowing account of the Taliban’s attempt to silence her advocacy by targeting her in a brutal assassination attempt. Malala’s survival is not just a personal triumph but a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the courage to stand against oppression. 

Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson  

In Pamela Anderson’s captivating “Love, Pamela”, readers are taken on a journey from her upbringing on Vancouver Island, where she carved a world of nature and imagination amidst the challenges of her young parents, to the glitzy heights of Hollywood fame. Anderson’s iconic blonde bombshell image in the 1990s made her Playboy’s favorite cover girl, embodying Hollywood glamour and sensuality. Yet, behind the scenes, the book unfolds into a poignant exploration of loss of control over one’s life when fame distorts the true self. From magazine covers to the Playboy Mansion and the arms of rockstars, Anderson faced the intense scrutiny of the paparazzi, losing grip on her own narrative. However, fueled by grace, love for art, literature, and a deep commitment to her children and causes close to her heart, Pamela Anderson reclaims her story – navigating the complexities of fame with resilience and a renewed sense of freedom. 

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish 

In her uproariously candid memoir, “The Last Black Unicorn,” Tiffany Haddish invites readers into the unfiltered chapters of her life. From a challenging childhood marked by poverty, foster care, and family struggles, Haddish emerges as a resilient force, using humour as her armor against life’s hardships. The narrative doesn’t shy away from the tough moments, addressing both the highs of her comedy career and the lows that preceded her breakthrough. Throughout the book, Haddish shares her experiences growing up as a Black woman in South Central Los Angeles, addressing the challenges and prejudices she faced, as well as how her background and ethnicity shaped her journey, offering readers a firsthand account of the complexities and unique perspectives that come with being a Black woman in the entertainment industry.  

 Bossypants by Tina Fey 

Comedic genius Tina Fey invites readers into her world of laughter and wit in “Bossypants.” Through a collection of humorous anecdotes and insightful reflections, Fey shares her journey from the improv stages of Chicago to the iconic writer’s room at Saturday Night Live. In between the laughs, Fey reflects on the challenges faced by women in comedy, breaking down stereotypes and proving that humour knows no gender boundaries. Through her narrative, Tina Fey paves the way for aspiring female comedians, showing that success in the industry is not only attainable but thoroughly deserved. Tina Fey effortlessly dissects the intricacies of navigating the fiercely competitive world of comedy, offering a unique and often hilarious perspective on being a woman in the industry. 

 Whether it’s for personal reflection or to share with loved ones, at My Story Told, we believe that autobiographies have the power to champion narratives. Tell your own remarkable story today.

Love is a timeless and universal theme that has found its home within the pages of the most iconic literature. The world of books has gifted us with tales of love, sacrifice, and enduring devotion. Marking the month of love, we revisited the classics that stole our hearts.

 

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s most famous and tragic masterpiece takes us to Verona, where the love between Romeo and Juliet transcends the feuds of their families. Their passionate yet ill-fated romance has become the epitome of young love. The play not only explores the depths of devotion and love at first sight, but also serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of longstanding grudges and societal expectations. Centuries and countless adaptations later, William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has stood the test of time and remains one of the greatest love stories ever to be written.

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

In the drawing rooms of 19th-century England, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy navigate societal expectations and personal biases. Jane Austen’s wit and keen observation make this novel a timeless exploration of love overcoming obstacles. Austen’s work not only delves into the complexities of class and societal expectations but also offers a nuanced view of character growth and self-discovery in the pursuit of true love. A revolutionary mind and master author, Austen skillfully crafts a narrative that encourages readers to reflect on how genuine love can break down societal barriers. 200 years after its first release, Pride and Prejudice is one of the bestselling romance novels worldwide, selling over 30 million copies!

 

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks is known for his gripping romance novels, and ‘The Notebook’ is one of his most iconic works. The novel follows Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson, two individuals from contrasting social backgrounds who fall deeply in love during the summer of 1940. Set against the backdrop of the post-World War II era, the book flits between the past and present, capturing how love can endure both time and obstacles. Now also a film adaptation, ‘The Notebook’ has become a contemporary classic, adored for its emotional depth, evocative storytelling, and the exploration of themes that resonate with readers of all ages.

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

In the moody halls of Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester’s love story unfolds, challenging conventions and prevailing over hardships. Brontë’s classic novel explores the

complexities of love in the face of societal expectations. “Jane Eyre” also serves as a feminist narrative, with its eponymous heroine embodying resilience and independence in the pursuit of a love that respects her individuality. Jane’s unwavering commitment to personal integrity and her refusal to succumb to societal expectations make “Jane Eyre” a powerful exploration of love as a force that empowers individuals to defy societal constraints and carve out their own paths.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This beloved classic unfolds in the haunting moors of Yorkshire, following the passionate yet tumultuous love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Emily Brontë’s dark and Gothic tale delves into the destructive power of love. ‘Wuthering Heights’ explores the consequences of unchecked passion and societal expectations, leaving readers pondering the thin line between love and obsession. Brontë’s portrayal of Heathcliff and Catherine’s relationship transcends romance, evolving into a haunting exploration of the human psyche. As the characters grapple with their desires and the collective constraints that bind them, ‘Wuthering Heights’ captures the corrosive effects of unresolved emotions and the enduring impact of love beyond the grave. Two centuries after its release, Brontë’s love story is a timeless tale that continues to captivate and intrigue readers across generations.

 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

In this best-selling and established modern-day classic, readers meet Hazel-Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two teens whose lives have been affected by terminal illness. The pair embark on a journey that transcends the boundaries of illness, exploring how love can impact the human spirit. Green’s novel beautifully captures the complexities of relationships and the resilience of the human heart in the face of adversity. Full of witty dialogue, philosophical reflections, and a sincere exploration of life’s uncertainties, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ has resonated with readers worldwide, earning praise for its genuine portrayal of love and loss.

 

Every great love starts with a great story. Let us at My Story Told, be the storytellers that immortalise your own epic love story on paper.

Books are a powerful tool for individuals to share their life stories, triumphs, and struggles. In recent years, several compelling autobiographies, memoirs and biographies have made their way from the pages of books to the big screen. Here are the well-crafted film adaptations that have stuck with us:

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ by Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner’s inspiring journey from homelessness to a successful career on Wall Street is chronicled in his autobiography, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’ Will Smith brought Gardner’s story to life in the 2006 film adaptation. The recipient of critical acclaim and both academy award and golden globe nominations, The Pursuit of Happyness.’ captures the emotional rollercoaster of Gardner’s life, emphasizing the power of determination and resilience in the face of adversity.

‘A Beautiful Mind’ by Sylvia Nasar

Sylvia Nasar’s biography of Nobel laureate John Nash, ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ delves into the mathematician’s struggles with mental illness. The 2001 film adaptation, starring Russell Crowe as Nash, skillfully portrays the complexity of his mind and the impact of mental health on his personal and professional life. The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive depiction of Nash’s journey.

‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, ‘Wild,’ recounts her solo journey of self-discovery and healing as she hikes over a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon stars in the 2014 film adaptation, capturing the raw emotion and challenges of Strayed’s trek. The film beautifully translates the physical and emotional journey of the author onto the cinematic canvas. Witherspoon’s portrayal earned her critical acclaim, culminating in a well-deserved Academy Award nomination and a win for Best Actress at the 2015 Oscars.

‘Malcolm X’ by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

The autobiography of Malcolm X, co-written with Alex Haley, is a powerful narrative that explores Malcolm’s transformation from a street hustler to a prominent civil rights leader. Spike Lee directed the 1992 film adaptation, simply titled ‘Malcolm X,’ with Denzel Washington delivering a powerful performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor. Beyond the accolades, ‘Malcolm X’ remains a potent cinematic portrayal of a man who challenged societal norms and left an indelible mark on the struggle for civil rights in America.

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ based on “The Wolf of Wall Street” by Jordan Belfort:

Jordan Belfort’s memoir, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ provided the source material for the 2013 film directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film delves into the excessive and morally questionable world of finance, portraying Belfort’s rise and fall. Despite its controversial nature, the film received critical acclaim for its bold storytelling, Martin Scorsese’s direction, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s dynamic performance, earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. The movie was also nominated for five Academy Awards and further solidified its place as a memorable exploration of greed and excess in the financial world.

 

But you don’t need to create a Hollywood blockbuster, every person’s story is worth telling. At My Story Told, we are dedicated to turning personal narratives into lasting legacies through our autobiography writing services. Your story matters, and we are here to help you share it.

Over the last couple of years, the literary landscape has seen the arrival of outstanding autobiographies from brilliant minds and compelling individuals, inviting readers into the lives of their icons through their own words and perspective – something that is often lost in this digital age. This month’s biography of the month offers authenticity effortlessly, even six years after its initial release, displaying how timeless a well-crafted autobiography can be.  

In time for celebrating her 60th birthday, our pick for the biography of the month is Michelle Obama’s international best-seller, ‘Becoming’. 

Michelle Obama’s autobiography has not only captured the hearts of millions but has also become a cultural phenomenon. Released in 2018, this best-selling book takes readers on a compelling and intimate journey through the life of the former First Lady of the United States. 

Written by a former first lady, you may think that ‘Becoming’ is a political book, when in reality it is much more than that. Becomingis a personal narrative that delves into Michelle Obama’s upbringing, her experiences, and the challenges she faced while navigating her role as the First Lady. The book allows readers a rare glimpse into the private life of one of the most influential women of our time. 

One of the most profound elements that sets ‘Becoming’ leagues apart is Michelle Obama’s unfiltered authenticity and vulnerability. In this page-turner, the former first lady fearlessly opens up about the highs and lows of her life, revealing moments of self-doubt, vulnerability, and the endless pursuit for authenticity within the public eye. This unguarded honesty reminds readers that even those in the highest positions of power are, at their core, human, making the narrative not only relatable but deeply inspiring. The willingness to share personal aspects of her journey makes ‘Becoming’ not just a political narrative but a touching exploration of the shared human experience. 

Beyond the personal narrative, ‘Becoming’ has had a significant impact on society too. Michelle Obama addresses issues encompassing race, identity, and the paramount role of education. On the topic of race, Obama delves into her personal experiences as an African American woman, discussing the impact of race on her life, her family, and her interactions with society. She reflects on the racial dynamics she encountered while growing up in Chicago, through her experiences as the First Lady. Shedding light on the challenges, discrimination, and stereotypes that she faced throughout her life, Michelle Obama contributes to a broader conversation about race, identity, and the ongoing struggle for equality. 

Throughout the book, Michelle Obama also touches upon the theme of Womanhood, transparently reflecting on her experiences as a woman, discussing the challenges and triumphs associated with her roles as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and, notably, as the First Lady of the United States. She explores issues such as balancing career and family, navigating societal expectations, and the unique challenges that women face. Michelle Obama’s journey, as portrayed in ‘Becoming,’ highlights the empowerment and complexity that comes with womanhood.  

Here at My Story Told, we understand the intricacies of your personal story and the power it holds. My Story Told is here to help tell your unique story, so that the moments within it live on in a biography, for you and the people you hold dear. 

Happy New Year! Stepping out of the Christmas food-coma and into the New Year can seem rather dull, especially after all the exciting festivities that have just drawn to a close. However, there is much to look forward to in the New Year, especially in the literary world.  

Here are autobiographies, biographies and memoirs to keep a look out for in 2024: 

 

What Have We Here: Portraits of a Life – Billy Dee Williams  

‘What have we here?’ follows the life of Billy Dee Williams, from his childhood growing up in Harlem, to his days on Broadway and starting out in Hollywood before landing the iconic role of Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’ beloved Star Wars, which would see his career soar to new heights.  

With a career spanning over 60 years, Billy Dee Williams has done it all – Broadway, movies, television and even music! In this nostalgic biography, Billy takes readers on a journey through his career; recounting tales and travels with Lawrence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Sylvester Stallone, and many more. Expected on shelves in early February, ‘What Have We Here’ will be the perfect read for die-hard Star Wars fans and those intrigued by the celebrity world.  

 

The Trading Game: A Confession – Gary Stevenson 

Former interest rate trader and equality campaigner, Gary Stevenson is a reputable name within the economics world. Crowned Citibank’s most profitable trader in 2011, Stevenson predicted that there would be an increase in economic inequality and caused waves in Canary Wharf.  

In this biography, Stevenson recalls his humble beginnings in East London to when he was accepted into the prestigious London School of Economics – constantly dreaming of something bigger than what was expected of a child from his background. In a raw and outrageous recount of his career, Gary Stevenson invites readers into the world’s most daunting yet intoxicating workplace – the trading floor – where Stevenson did not only survive, but he thrived. Scheduled for a late February release, this book will be a great motivator for readers looking to get out of their new year slump.   

 

The House of Hidden Meanings – Ru Paul 

In his highly anticipated autobiography, international Drag icon Ru Paul shares his life story; growing up black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, self-expression, found family and self-acceptance. Quick-witted and a trailblazer for bringing drag to mainstream television, the public may think that they already know Ru Paul, however in his most intimate book yet, RuPaul makes himself truly known and strips away the stage persona.  

Described by critics as ‘a manual for living’, Ru Paul’s story acts as a personal philosophy that attests to the value of finding chosen family, the power of embracing what makes you different and accepting all of yourself, fearlessly. Readers looking to learn more about the iconic Ru Paul and subsequently, themselves, can expect ‘The House of Hidden Meanings’ on 5th March.  

  

Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and finding myself – Crystal Hefner   

Shrouded in glamour, luxurious parties and Hollywood star appeal, the playboy mansion has become an icon, synonymous with the playboy brand. However, behind the allure of a dream lifestyle lies a house built on darkness and façade. 

After years of silence, Crystal Hefner exposes the toxic culture of misogyny that runs deep within the playboy mansion. Through a scathing and raw narrative, Hefner offers a look into her time at the playboy mansion and as one of Hugh Hefner’s infamous girlfriends – detailing the absurd rules the women had to follow, regarding everything from their hair and makeup to their curfews. In a series of hard-learned lessons, Crystal Hefner presents an honest perspective on how the need for validation can take hold on one’s life and why it is important to realize your worth. Readers won’t have to wait too long into the new year, as ‘Only Say Good things’ is expected to hit shelves on 25th January – prepare for the shockwaves to come.  

 

Share your story 

With a new year upon us, there are even more moments and memories ready to unfold. Before getting swept up in new moments, why not document past memories? As they are just as precious, if not more. At My Story Told, we understand the importance of capturing memories and the role they play in one’s personal story. My Story Told is here to help tell your unique story, so that the moments within it live on in a biography, for you and the people you hold dear. 

At My Story Told, we believe that everyone has a unique story to tell, a narrative that deserves to be immortalised through the art of biography. In order to gain insights into our customers’ motives for seeking to document their life’s journey, we have created a short survey.

We truly value your opinion, which will also contribute to a valuable and wider piece of research we are conducting into memory and ways of living. But, upon completing this survey, as a token of our appreciation, you will also be sent a £250 voucher, which can be redeemed against our products. It can also be transferred and used by a friend or family member of your choice.

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What we hope to find out

The motives

Delving into the hearts of our potential clients, we aim to discover the driving forces behind their desire to write their biography. For many, it is an opportunity to leave behind a legacy, a tangible memory of their accomplishments and lessons for generations to come. The pursuit of self-expression, catharsis, and healing the wounds of the past also ranks high on the list.

For some, the motivation is altruistic, seeking to honor the unsung heroes, the individuals whose stories have touched their lives. Others aspire to share their struggles and triumphs to inspire and empower others who may be traversing similar paths. The survey not only uncovers these unique perspectives but also emphasises the importance of preserving diverse narratives.

The audience

In addition to understanding the authors’ motives, our survey endeavors to comprehend the audience’s expectations. Each biography has a distinct audience, whether it’s the author’s immediate family, a broader circle of friends and colleagues, or the wider public. Knowing this helps us tailor our services to ensure that every biography resonates deeply with its intended readers, bridging the gap between the author and their audience.

The impact

Throughout our time creating biographies, it has become evident that writing a biography goes beyond simply recounting events; it is an act of introspection and self-discovery. Our mission at My Story Told is to provide a medium for people to delve into their memories, emotions, and motivations. By offering our professional guidance, we then help them craft a compelling narrative that captures the essence of their journey.

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As we continue to unearth the untold stories, we are reminded of the profound impact that each life can have, and the responsibility we hold in preserving and cherishing these narratives.

Through our dedication to excellence and authenticity, we strive to be a partner in the journey of each individual, ensuring that their stories stand the test of time and that future generations can learn about their ancestors.

Contact us to start your storytelling journey.

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You may think that the biographical genre of literature is something relatively new, but, in fact, The Life of Samuel Johnson, written by James Boswell and published in 1791, is considered one of the earliest and most significant modern biographies.

The reason for its significance is that it was the first of its kind to adopt a new biographical approach, as Boswell’s style was “very modern”, giving a psychological insight into “what made Johnson tick”.

This differed from early biographical writing, such as the literature of ancient Greece and Rome that was characterised by a reverence for both their deities and renowned individuals. Whether victorious or defeated, the actions of these figures were regarded as either emulable or cautionary and the biographical writing served as an analysis of this.

Another example of early biographical writing is Einhard’s The Life of Charlemagne, composed around 817 AD, which is widely regarded as one of the era’s most illustrious biographies. Though Einhard is clearly enamoured with Charlemagne’s accomplishments, the biography solely focused on these accomplishments rather than providing personal insight. Despite this, Einhard’s work has retained its value for historians over the centuries.

The Life of Samuel Johnson

The work is a comprehensive account of the life and times of Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest literary figures of the 18th century. The biography is famous for its detailed and intimate portrayal of Johnson’s personality and for its contribution to the art of biography as a literary genre.

James Boswell, a Scottish lawyer and writer, met Samuel Johnson in 1763 and was immediately captivated by his intelligence, wit, and charm. Boswell became a close friend and admirer of Johnson, and he began to record his conversations and observations about Johnson’s life and character. Over the years, Boswell amassed a vast collection of notes, letters, and anecdotes about Johnson, and he eventually decided to publish a comprehensive biography of his friend.

The Life of Samuel Johnson is divided into two volumes, each containing detailed descriptions of Johnson’s life and works. The first volume covers Johnson’s early life, his struggles with poverty and illness, and his rise to fame as a writer and scholar. The second volume focuses on Johnson’s later years, his relationships with his friends and family, and his thoughts on politics, religion, and philosophy.

What makes The Life of Samuel Johnson so significant is the way in which Boswell approaches his subject. Unlike previous biographies, which tended to focus on the external events of a person’s life, Boswell’s biography is concerned with the inner life of Johnson. Boswell is interested in Johnson’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations, and he seeks to understand Johnson’s complex personality in all its nuances.

Boswell’s approach to biography was groundbreaking in its time, and it set the standard for modern biographical writing. Rather than simply recounting the facts of a person’s life, Boswell sought to create a vivid and engaging portrait of his subject, bringing to life the unique qualities that made Johnson such a remarkable figure. In doing so, Boswell demonstrated the power of biography as a literary genre, and he set a new standard for the art of storytelling.

Today, The Life of Samuel Johnson is regarded as a classic of English literature and a masterpiece of biography. It remains one of the most vivid and compelling portraits of a literary figure ever written, and it has inspired generations of writers and readers to explore the lives and works of great men and women. Through his meticulous research, his keen insight into human nature, and his masterful storytelling, James Boswell created a work that continues to fascinate and captivate readers to this day.

Document your life story with us

At My Story Told, our aim is to tell your story, your way. We help individuals preserve their life stories in the form of the written word, a family treasure to be handed down to generations that will both preserve your legacy and offer a unique insight into what life was like during your lifetime.

Contact us today to start your storytelling journey, or for more on how our process works, click here.

Outside toilets, no central heating, corporal punishment and “The White Cliffs of Dover”, those who grew up in the 40s will remember the world being a very different place.

As part of our new series, we will be taking a decade in view and outlining what life was like for those who grew up in that time. We will identify key highlights and events, hopefully unlocking memories for those who remember life in that decade.

The first decade we have chosen is the 1940s, a period dominated by the Second World War and the struggles that arose with wartime. Britain was at war from 1939–45, and during the six years, food and clothing were rationed and in short supply. The bombing caused fear, injury, death and destruction, and families were often separated due to evacuation and fathers went away to fight.

Those who grew up in the 40s will either personally remember or know of someone who was evacuated during the war. As cities were being bombed, children were evacuated to the countryside to remain safe. Some found it an adventure, but for some, the separation from family and the feeling of homesickness caused distress.

Home life

Home life in the 40s was a stark contrast to how we live today. A quarter of British homes had no electricity, telephone or indoor toilet! There was also no central heating and houses were kept warm from the heat of a fire in the fireplace. Fitted carpets were also few and far between, with most homes having wooden or stone floors.

For those who were not fighting in the war, most people in Britain worked in manufacturing industries and factories. Heavy industries like coal mining, iron and steel making, ship building and engineering employed millions of workers.

Music and Entertainment

The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) music – such as the jazz, boogie-woogie or jitterbug – as dances were held in church and village halls. Slower, sentimental romantic songs were also popular as loved ones went away to fight, such as Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘The ‘White Cliffs of Dover’.

Although televisions were starting to emerge, they were not affordable or available to many during the war. There was, however, use of the radio, which provided some entertainment as well as broadcasting updates on the war. Families would gather around and listen intently to the daily news on their radio.

For children, toys were hard to come by at this time. Factories were used for war equipment, which took manufacturing priority. Those who had toys were usually passed them down from older children or relatives.

In cities, playing outside was not permitted as it was too dangerous. Evacuees on the other hand had to make up their own games. As autumn approached, trips to the woods were common to find the largest, shiniest conkers, being careful to not get stabbed by the harsh prickly cases that protected it. Threaded onto a bootlace, or a piece of string, a winning conker would be the one that had smashed others to smithereens in combat.

Some staple activities of the time were skipping, football and hopscotch, making use of the countryside and the opportunity to be outside, or cards, dice, pick-up-sticks, noughts and crosses, and jacks.

Education

School in the 40s was very different to today. Teachers were strict and corporal punishment was extremely common. Children were punished by getting hit by a cane (thin walking stick).

Classrooms were cold and the windows were often high up so you couldn’t look out, and sometimes classes were in the open air as many school buildings had been bombed. Each child had their own desk with a lid, though schools in rural areas were often overcrowded because evacuated children joined the classes.

Lessons were quite formal with an emphasis on learning things via repetition and by heart. There were very few textbooks to go around, so most things had to be copied off the blackboard. During the War years, teachers often moved to the countryside also, with many retired teachers coming back to work while the younger aged went to war.

Ration Books

Those who grew up in the 40s will most certainly remember ration books, as they lasted well after the war had ended. Ration books worked on a coupon system, so people could only purchase their entitlement and no more.

A typical weekly food ration allowed: 1 egg, 2 ounces each of tea and butter, an ounce of cheese, eight ounces of sugar, four ounces of bacon and four ounces of margarine. Meat wasn’t rationed immediately, but when it was its availability was decided by price rather than points, meaning cheaper cuts quickly became the most popular for many housewives. Catchy phrases like ‘go easy with bread, try potatoes instead’ were devised and circulated by the Ministry of Food to urge housewives to be frugal.

It was not just food that was rationed, clothes were too, and worked on the same coupon system. Adults were allowed to use 66 coupons a year – children were allocated additional coupons to allow for them outgrowing their clothes during the year. For example, a pair of shoes used five coupons while a suit used 18 coupons.

Pages of the book had different coloured coupons and only one colour could be used at a time. The government announced when the next colour could be used, to prevent people using all their coupons too quickly. Rationing should have imposed a ‘fair share for all’ but this was not always the case.

The government also devised a number of memorable campaigns to encourage people to become more conscious about using their ration coupons. The first being ‘Dig for Victory’, which encouraged Britons to turn green spaces they could into allotments so that they could grow food to feed their own family, as well as raise their own pigs and chickens to provide meat and eggs.

The equally memorable ‘Make do and Mend’, promoted repairing clothing and other goods. rather than replacing it.

The decade also saw a number of notable events, including:

1941 – The Blitz

Arguably the greatest test of Britain’s resolve against Nazi Germany, the Blitz began in September 1940 after Germany lost air superiority in the Battle of Britain. Many British cities were attacked, with London bearing the worst of it, being hit 56 times over 57 nights.

1945 – UK Joins the United Nations

The United Nations was formed in the aftermath of WWII, and the UK was one of the first to join. Britain became one of the five founding members of the United Nations Security Council, along with the United States, USSR, China, France and a majority of 46 other signatory nations.

1947 – Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister

During World War II, the UK formed the coalition government between the Conservative and Labour Party in order to present Britain with a united front against Nazi Germany. After Germany’s defeat, Labor politicians called for a dissolution of the coalition government and a General Election was called.

Labour won a commanding number of seats having promised to bring British soldiers home and expand social programs.

1948 – NHS Founded

The National Health Service Act was passed in 1946, but it took a further two years for the NHS to be formally established. The formation of the National Health Service means universal healthcare was established in the UK.

Learning about various decades and how they differ to today is something we love about what we do at My Story Told. Creating a biography is a great way to capture your life and remember them in your own words.

Our aim is to provide a lasting document that can serve as a token of your or your legacy for generations to come. It is a way to tell life stories in the form of the written word, backed up by meaningful images and documents helping paint the picture of each chapter. For more on our process, please click here.

At My Story Told, we love learning about individual experiences and being a part of instilling your legacy for future generations, creating a lasting document in the process.  

Most people choose to document their story in chronological order, while paying specific attention to certain periods of their lives such as their childhood or marriage, but there are a number of ways to create a lasting family heirloom that involve unique topics of focus.  

Here, we identify three ways to create a personalised document for your family, friends or colleagues to enjoy.  

1. Family recipes 

Food is never just food. It’s the time at the table together, its recipes passed down through generations, and the comforting taste of home. Though recipes are easily accessible nowadays, the special tricks, flavours, and secrets that make meals unique are what differentiates family recipes from mainstream versions. 

A personalised cookbook of family recipes is something that can become a huge part of a person’s life – whether those meals are used on special occasions or for everyday eating, the amazing culinary treats they’ve invented and dished up over the years can act as a symbol of a family’s legacy.  

It’s also a chance to immortalise traditional family recipes for years to come, as the meals live on through the next generation. 

2. Memorable Quotes 

Throughout our lifetimes, we are told quotes, anecdotes and life lessons that are passed down by relatives. For example, you may have been told something to the effect of: “just like your grandad used to say…”.  

Sharing these anecdotes and quotes could be one way to develop a unique history to share with your family, whether that is life lessons about love, quirky sayings or an old wives’ tale.  

There may have been times when a family member’s words have inspired you, and will remind you about something that is important to you. Putting these in a document means that you can share the wisdom with others, or you can come back to them when you need inspiration.  

3. Business Expertise 

Gaining extensive experience within a specific industry comes with invaluable knowledge and expertise that many can learn from. Success within entrepreneurship does not come without mistakes, and are commonplace within business. Certain approaches and life lessons will emerge from falling at those hurdles, and these lessons could serve as vital information for future business owners.  

Documenting your business journey is another way to create a truly unique biography that many can enjoy and learn from, as people often ask business experts to outline what lessons they wish they knew when they started.  

A document like this can be used to inspire and provide essential value for anyone planning, managing, or growing a business through actionable insights from the successes and challenges of great entrepreneurs and executives.  

At My Story Told, our team are with you every step of the way on your storytelling journey, whether that is a traditional memoir, or any personalised alternative you choose. We help individuals preserve their life stories in their own words, helping you tell your story, your way.  

Get in touch to start your storytelling journey today.