Amy Reads Books


The Report - Jessica Francis Kane I first heard about The Report when Jessica Francis Kane was interviewed on the radio, which was also the first time I had heard about the Bethnal Green tragedy; a crush which killed almost 200 people on a night where there wasn't a single bomb dropped on London. My Dad, who is really interested in WWII, bought the book and read it in about two days; and I too raced through it surprisingly quickly.Essentially, The Report is split in two; bouncing between 1943 and 1973. In 1973, Paul Barber, a young filmmaker, tracks down Laurence Dunne who was in charge of the inquiry to ask him questions; whilst Kane also describes the real events of the tragedy, in addition to exploring the lives of people affected by the disaster; Laurence Dunne himself; Ada, a mother who lost one of her daughters in the crush; Warden Low a warden in charge of the shelter who blames himself for the crush and Bertram Lodge, a young gentleman who feels in someway responsible as he was involved in the crush.It's not necessarily a traditional novel; there isn't a massive plot driving through it, although we do discover more about the life of Paul Barber and the inquiry itself is certainly interesting when Kane writes would-be exchanges between Dunne and the various witnesses. However, Kane's writing is well-paced and the 250-odd pages fly by quite quickly. It's also really interesting to learn about the lives of the less well-off Londoners during the Second World War; in particular the casual racism towards the refugees from Eastern Europe, namely the Jewish.The Report is a really interesting, well-paced story of the very human search for an easy explanation in horrible circumstances.