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Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War Based on a True Story is a memoir by John Searancke. This memoir gives readers a heartfelt glimpse into the life of the author’s father, Eddie Searancke, during the war years of 1940-1945. Eddie had led a leisurely life while working in his father’s construction company, but that changed after joining the army. Although he was not an officer, that did not stop Eddie from becoming one by unconventional standards. He assumed the war would be short-lived with acceptable amounts of casualties, but nothing prepared Eddie for the horrors that he experienced, especially after the Germans captured him. Despite the hardships, Eddie managed to keep his wry wits about him while writing letters to his indulged bride, Elizabeth, and his father.
John Searancke did not know his father very well and often heard how the war had changed him. It was only after Eddie died that he began to connect with him through a packet of letters that Eddie had written to his wife. These expressive letters, which are included in the memoir, give insight into Eddie’s daily thoughts and activities while enlisted. Food and basic items were scarce, yet it surprised me to see how Eddie procured them for his family, and how he managed to conduct family business during the war. John Searancke’s writing captures his sentiments as well as his father’s experiences very nicely. Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War Based on a True Story is a poignant military memoir that I highly recommend reading.