The sassy soldier

My friend Leanne and I were seated beside an elderly woman at the elementary school’s volunteer tea. Leanne chatted her up, and soon we were both holding copies of her book.

Doris Gregory is 94. She’d just returned from a book fair in Victoria, where she’d met the lieutenant governor.

Doris-Gregory_web

Leanne flipped through her book, and pointed to a photo of Doris and a young soldier.

“Was this your boyfriend?” she teased.

“One of them,” Doris said. “There were a hundred of us dropped into a camp of more than a thousand men. We got plenty of attention.”

So of course we bought her books. As a young student journalist, Doris raged against gender-segregated English classes at UBC. As a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, she crossed the U-boat-patrolled Atlantic, survived air raids, and worked in various war offices. Her stories, as she takes on everything from war bureaucracy to unwanted pregnancy, are smart, witty, and insightful.

Doris eventually returned home to finish her degree, pursue a fellowship, and become a psychologist.

Her book is called How I Won the War for the Allies: One Sassy Canadian Soldier’s Story. I dislike the word “sassy” in the title; I feel as if it lessens Doris’s accomplishments. But she’s a wonderful writer, and I loved every other word in the book.

How-I-Won-the-War_web

If Doris is sassy, I can only hope to be so when I’m 94.

3 thoughts on “The sassy soldier

  1. Tsnya, a thousand thanks for this great review, forwarded to me by Ronsdale. Probably the best I’ve ever received

    It was Bennett Coles (mentioned in my preface) who gave me the word “Sassy”. I have a fondness for alliteration and I thought the word lent a certain sparkle to the subtitle, but I can understand and appreciate your reaction. I’m also indebted to Ben for the title itself. My original title, “How I Helped Win The War, or Did I?” wasn’t nearly as good as his.

    I’m continuing to have a great deal of fun selling the book. It has opened up a whole new world for me, so many interesting people with their own stories to tell Particularly heartwarming are comments from some who have discovered mention and/or pictures of friends or family members within the covers and been kind enough to let me share their delight..

    Tanya, It was lovely to meet you and Leanne.. Thanks again for this review, so eloquently expressed.

  2. Tsnya, a thousand thanks for this great review, forwarded to me by Ronsdale.

    It was Bennett Coles (mentioned in my preface) who gave me the word “Sassy”. I have a fondness for alliteration and I thought the word lent a certain sparkle to the subtitle, but I can understand and appreciate your reaction. I’m also indebted to Ben for the title itself. My original title, “How I Helped Win The War, or Did I?” wasn’t nearly as good.

    I’m continuing to have a great deal of fun selling the book. It has opened up a whole new world for me, so many interesting people with their own stories to tell Particularly heartwarming are comments from some who have discovered mention and/or pictures of friends or family members within the covers and been kind enough to let me share their delight..

    Tanya, It was lovely to meet you and Leanne.. Thanks again for this review, so eloquently expressed.

  3. Hi Doris! Thanks for stopping by my blog! You’re right that it’s a wonderful title, and it captures the ease and humour with which you write, even when tackling tough subjects.

    The book is a wonderful accomplishment, and I’m so glad to have a copy.

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