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  • Without Warning and Only Sometimes

  • Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood
  • By: Kit de Waal
  • Narrated by: Kit de Waal
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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Without Warning and Only Sometimes cover art

Without Warning and Only Sometimes

By: Kit de Waal
Narrated by: Kit de Waal
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Summary

From the award-winning author of My Name Is Leon, The Trick to Time and Supporting Cast comes a childhood memoir set to become a classic: stinging, warm-hearted and true.

Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn't have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.

Caught between three worlds—Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham—Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.

Without Warning and Only Sometimes is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.

©2022 Kit de Waal (P)2022 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

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What listeners say about Without Warning and Only Sometimes

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  • Overall
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Superb

I very much enjoyed this book, well written and narrated. I knew so many people like this in my childhood but now seeing it through their eyes, half Irish, half Caribbean and a Jehovah’s Witness. As a child I didn’t, I couldn’t have understood the struggle such people had, they were just friends who I didn’t realise were treated any differently to me a white English girl in the 1970s. Obviously I did as I got older and have always been very upset by that. This isn’t a book about any kind of complaints but an uplifting, raw and gritty telling of a childhood on into womanhood. Excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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An important book full of heart

I binged this book in one sitting. Wonderfully narrated by the author. Kit is a very talented writer and her eye for detail creates an immersive experience with unforgettable characters - her family and friends. It is a masterclass in memoir writing. A tour de force!

2 people found this helpful

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honestly faacinating

loved it, and all the better for being in the author's own voice, playing out the emotion and memory. Keen observation of her family, and her ability to tell their stories as well as hers made it.

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Couldn’t stop listening

I loved this memoir so much! Beautiful, tender writing, it did not disappoint. Highly recommend.

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Wow just amazing

I loved this memoir a well told story there were times I could relate to her experiences and times I just wanted to hug her ,brilliantly narrated. A great read/listen

Fantastic Kit Dr Waal

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Riveting story

could not put it down, read most of the night for three, loved the characters, humanity of both father and mother, beautifully drawn, descriptions of life in 60s squats.

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  • Em
  • 15-10-22

Fantastic story

I loved this book. It's personal and interesting and full of humanity. A really great story.

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Heartfelt

A wonderful evocation of childhood in a family with particular quirks, and the journey to young adulthood. It rang bells of recognition for the time and place, and left me wanting more.

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Really enjoyed this

A frank engaging account of one woman's childhood and introduction to adulthood as a child of an interracial couple, one of whom is a Jehovah's Witness. It touches on nearly every prejudice and sort of bigotry that was commonplace in 60s and 70s Britain
But it's not a story about a victim. It's just how she saw it and felt it then...and how she got through it. She keeps the religious aspect brisk and to the point.

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Spellbinding

This memoir is touching, funny, compelling and thoughtful. It is nuanced and beautifully written. I loved it .