Memories of Another Day

Close-up photo of blue eyes is at center of front cover of Memories of Another Day.
The cover art has nothing to do with the novel’s story.

Memories of Another Day is less awful than many of Harold Robbins’s bestsellers.

The story is told in sections alternating between “now” and “memories of another day.”

The memories are better than now.

The story is about Daniel Boone Huggins, a West Virginia hill country kid growing up dirt-poor in the early 1900s.

His father isn’t savvy enough to sell his moonshine for what it’s worth. The family needs cash.

Dan is sent off to find work. He ends up in a coal mine.

Dan’s sister, who had married a union organizer, is killed along with him.

Dan leaves West Virginia a confirmed union man.

Dan is a typical Robbins hero. Smart and incorruptible, he’s a hard-drinking stud, pursued by every woman who sees him.

He has a son, Daniel Jr., by one wife, and another, Jonathan, by a second wife who is younger than Dan Jr.

After Dan Sr. dies, Jonathan, 17, full of adolescent rebellion against his father, inexplicably goes off to find his father’s roots.

The memories of Big Dan’s labor union organizing experiences are riveting.

The tale of Jonathan’s getting in touch with his father’s legacy is absurd.

Memories of Another Day by Harold ROBBINS
Simon and Schuster, ©1979. 491 p.
1979 bestseller #04 My grade: B

 

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Llewellyn’s Valley Is Still Springtime Fresh

Richard Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley is a nostalgic glimpse of life in days that were at once rougher and gentler than our own.

When the story opens, narrator Huw Morgan is just a boy in a Welsh household made prosperous by the combined wages of his father and brothers who work the coal mines.

As mines everywhere shut, plentiful labor forces wages down. The Morgan household splits over attempts to unionize the mine. Miners strike, but the strike fails.

A new minister in the valley takes an interest in Huw and encourages him to go to school, where he excels. Huw refuses to go to college. He chooses life in the mine over a profession.

A series of fresh disasters strike the valley: mining accidents, a rift in the local congregation over the minister’s relationship with Huw’s sister. The valley grows bleak and barren.

Although Huw tells the story in a flashback, he tells it basically from the perspective of what he saw, felt, and understood at the age when the events happened. Llewellyn’s novel takes readers into an interior world the classic film version of the novel does not capture.

Experience youth again: Read How Green Was My Valley.

How Green Was My Valley
By Richard Llewellyn
Macmillian, 1940
494 pages
1940 bestseller #1
My grade: B+

© 2010 Linda Gorton Aragoni