Unbroken Bond

Non-Fiction - Biography
288 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Danita Dyess for Readers' Favorite

The book “Unbroken Bond” by Tommy Porter is the story of a family’s endurance during the Second World War. Set in Liverpool during the 1940s, it is the account of Thomas John Porter, a little boy and his recollection of his life growing up. Surviving bomb raids, freezing temperatures and very little to eat, Tommy had his parents and household of 12 children. After his mother dies, Tommy and Alec, his brother, are temporarily placed in a children’s home until Paddy, his older brother, rescues them. Years later, the father dies. They are placed in the Bamber Bridge Children’s Home. They decide it’s better to escape! But where can they go? Their old house is boarded up and Granny Porter refuses to take care of them. What happens next will surprise you.

This book really impressed me. Although it was slow paced, I got lost in another era filled with coal stoves, dockers in warehouses, children playing with Ollies (marbles) and Tommy’s father’s wireless (radio). Although only 139 pages, “Unbroken Bond” is exquisitely detailed. I could hear the horses, carts, women talking on the front steps and the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Bootle. Porter is a gifted writer and I am glad he chose to write this wonderful story. This is his first book but I would like to see more of his extraordinary work in the future. “Unbroken Bond” is highly recommended especially for history buffs or those who enjoy historic nonfiction.

Maria Beltran

“Unbroken Bond” is the life story of Tommy Porter. It is set in Liverpool, England, at the outbreak of the Second World War. In the midst of turmoil and poverty, the large Porter family struggle to survive and the children manage to fill their days with love and joy. Misfortune happens when their mother dies unexpectedly. As their father retreats in the company of his aged mother, the ten siblings largely have to fend for themselves. When their father dies, the children are separated with Tommy and his brother Alec being transferred from one orphanage after another. The brothers never stop from pining for home, as they are being bullied in the orphanage and in school until their teenage when their lives take another fateful turn.

Written in simple language and in a straightforward manner, “Unbroken Bond” is a compelling story of two little boys who are removed from their family. This is a childhood tale that is filled with misfortune, sadness and sorrow but their sense of family seems to strengthen in the face of adversities. Growing up in an orphanage is not easy and many people come out of it feeling rejected. This is not the case with these two boys, whose bond not only to each other but also to other members of their family, endures the tests of time. As such, the book becomes an inspiration to readers. Without asking for sympathy, the author succeeds in painting a story that touches the heart. This is a book that also shows the ability of the human spirit to endure life’s challenges.

Christine Nguyen

"Unbroken Bond" is set in Liverpool during World War II when there were many bombings and air strikes in England from the Germans. Tommy Porter grew up amongst twelve children in a poor family by the docks where he had many grand adventures with his two closest brothers, Paddy and Alec. Although they grew up in poverty, they were loved and blessed by happiness until one day when their lives changed forever. First, Tommy’s mother died at a young age from tuberculosis and then a few short years later, his father died. Thus began his journey through multiple Catholic orphanages with brutal Catholic brothers who believed in strict discipline with severe beatings by the cane. Tommy fights tooth and nail to be kept with his younger brother Alec in the orphanages.

Tommy Porter recounts his lively childhood with much candor and warmth. I loved reading about his accounts of where he grew up and how he grew up. It was heartbreaking to see the whole family split up when his dad finally passed away. The reader can feel the intense love and loyalty that Tommy had towards his brothers Paddy and Alec. It was appalling to get a glimpse of what living in an orphanage was during that time – how strict and brutal the brothers were in dishing out their so called discipline. This story made me sad and excited at the same time, uplifted with Tommy’s fighting loyalty to keep Alec with him at all costs. This is a really touching book about “unbroken bonds.”