The Factory Voice

by Jeanette Lynes | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1550504010 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Pooker3 of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 9/4/2011
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, September 04, 2011
Purchased on day 2 of the Winnipeg Thin Air's used book sale. Yes, I've been twice and I'm heading back there on day 3! This one recommended by Perry.

Journal Entry 2 by Pooker3 at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I've given this book eight stars mostly because of the pure delight it was for me to read a book set in Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay). I don't think I've before had the pleasure of reading a book set in the city in which I spent my teenaged years in the late 60s. I loved the place and the time I spent there. So it was indeed delightful to read of the characters going to Chippewa Park, Hillcrest Park and Chapples Department Store and travelling down streets familiar to me.

There is nothing deep or particularly life-changing in the reading of this novel, but it is a darned good story about the lives and roles of women in Canada during the Second World War. There are four main female characters in the novel and some secondary male characters who provide some love interest as well as a bit of mystery and intrigue.

There's Audrey, a bit of a hick from the prairies, who has stolen her mother's savings to escape farm life, hopped a train and ended up in Fort William where there are jobs to be had working for Fort William Aviation. Audrey wants to get a job making planes so she can see how the wings are attached.

Then there's Ruby, the spoiled little rich girl, former "Miss Fort William" and daughter of the factory owner. Ruby works in her father's business as head stenographer. But she too wants something else. She wants to be a reporter and hopes that a big story in her little newsletter, "The Factory Voice" will be her stepping stone. In the meantime, one of Ruby's jobs is to hire women to work in the factory. She hires Audrey, not as a wing-attacher to Audrey's initial annoyance, but as the snack cart girl who in the course of hawking her muffins (persians not yet having been invented), Ruby hopes will bring her factory scuttlebutt for the newsletter. Audrey is enamoured with the lilac-scented, exquisitely lipsticked Ruby and so is anxious to please her.

Florence Voutilainen is the big homely girl from "the other side of the tracks". She's a crackerjack riveter but seems destined to forever wear the probationary factory "red scarf" because of suspicions her mother is a "Red Finn".

Muriel, "Queen of the Mosquitoes" is an engineer. She arrives in Fort William to take over the job as Chief Engineer at Fort William Aviation at the same time as Audrey. In fact they arrive on the same train.

The story is fast paced and sometimes quite funny. There's lots of intriguing bits concerning the roles that the male characters play in these women's lives. Particularly interesting was Thaddeus Brink, an escapee from prison who just happens to have been a former love of Muriel and who befriends "the daughter" Flo.

However, most interesting of all, which I discovered by happenstance (not being able to place "Fort William Aviation" in my memory map of Fort William, I Googled. CanCar I do remember!). I discovered that Muriel's story is based on the real life of one Elizabeth McGill, "Queen of the Hurricanes" and the first female airplane designer in Canada. How cool is that!

Journal Entry 3 by Pooker3 at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Released 7 yrs ago (10/12/2011 UTC) at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Will take this book to our monthly meeting. If no takers I'll leave it on the book shelf in the loft.

To the finder:
Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of BookCrossing! Here you'll find a unique and worldwide community of book lovers sharing their books. This book is now yours! Read it, enjoy it. Keep it or pass it on to someone you know or even release it back into the wild as I did. If you make a journal entry (either anonymously or as a BookCrossing member) all previous readers of this book will be notified by e-mail and can follow this book on its travels. BookCrossing is free to join, completely confidential (you are known only by your screen name and no one is ever given your email address) and it's a whole lot of fun!

Journal Entry 4 by wingCJL-230711wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I saw Pooker's journal entry before tonight's bookcrossing meet-up and thought this was a book I'd like to read. I love the cover and flipping through the pages I see that one section is called "Dry Cold" which makes me even more keen to read it. I have spent a bit of time in Thunder Bay since the older MissG was a student there for a few years. And we didn't know what "persians" were until then.

Thanks, Pooker3 for bringing this bit of Canadiana to tonight's meet-up. I hope to read it soon and pass it on to gypsysmom - who didn't snatch as quickly as I did ;)

Journal Entry 5 by wingCJL-230711wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, November 06, 2011
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read! Set during World War II at an aviation plant in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, it portrays an interesting period of Canadian history, and particularly women's roles on the home front. The story is told from the points of view of four very different women. There's Audrey, a spunky, engaging, underage runaway from Alberta who is hired as snack-cart girl, as well as unofficial spy for the head stenographer. Ruby, the head stenographer, is a local girl and former beauty queen, a wannabee investigative reporter who contributes to The Factory Voice, waiting for the story that will be her big break. She's not above using and manipulating others to achieve her goals. Fat and ungainly Florence is another local who works as a riveter and is learning to weld. There are problems with her security clearance since her mother is suspected as a "Red Finn". Muriel McGregor is the new Head Engineer from Vancouver, she's also a polio survivor. Her character is based on Elsie MacGill, the first Canadian woman to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering. It was worth reading the book just to learn about this woman.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsie_MacGi... )
The factory has a high proportion of female employees but there are enough men to cause entanglements and complications in the lives of these women. The plant is under high security and suspicions run high, especially since some "subversives" escaped from a detainee camp and there have been problems on recent test flights. My review wouldn't be complete without adding that I loved the northern Ontario setting.

Thanks, Pooker3 for bringing this book to the last meet-up and for your enthusiastic comments. I could so easily have missed out on this book since both title and author were unfamiliar. I wolfed it down in a single day, I agree with you, "a darned good story". I'm reserving it for gypsysmom, who I hope will enjoy it as much as we did!

Journal Entry 6 by wingCJL-230711wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, November 10, 2011
Passed on to gypsysmom at tonight's bookcrossing meet-up. We had a great turnout!

Journal Entry 7 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, November 10, 2011
I love the cover of this book. I think my mom had shoes just like that. I know I can't go wrong with a book that Pooker3 and mrsgaskell endorse.

Journal Entry 8 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, November 10, 2012
I adored this book or, at least, I adored the story in this book.

It's 1941 and the war machine is cranking out planes just as fast as it can. Fort William Aviation is doing its bit by building Mosquito airplanes. But it needs workers, lots of workers to staff at least two shifts a day. They advertise all over the country. One of the people who reads the ad is Audrey, a 16-year-old farm girl from Spruce Grove, Alberta. Audrey is determined she isn't going to be made to marry the hired hand so she takes her parents' savings, hops on a train and heads east to Fort William. Also on the train is Muriel from Vancouver. Muriel is considerably older than Audrey and far more educated as she has trained as an aeronautical engineer. She is heading to Fort William Aviation to take up the post of Chief Engineer. The planes being turned out by the plant have been having problems and recently the test pilot broke his leg when the plane he was testing crashed. At the plant both Audrey and Muriel encounter Ruby, the head stenographer and chief writer of "The Factory Voice", the plant newspaper. Ruby is gorgeous, smells great and has a high opinion of her writing skills. Ruby is also in charge of hiring everyone and she agrees to hire Audrey as the snack cart girl. Ruby has also managed to get her childhood friend, Florence, a job even though Florence's mother is known as a "Red Finn". Florence is overweight, big-footed, has rotten teeth; in short she and Ruby are complete opposites.

All of these women have dreams and aspirations. Their work throws them together more than they otherwise would be. None of them are what you could call experienced when it comes to men. Ruby has had sex which resulted in a pregnancy that she terminated by visiting a doctor in Toronto but other than that experience she doesn't seem too interested in men. Audrey isn't interested in men romantically; in fact, she is probably a lesbian and is in love with Ruby. Muriel hasn't really had a boyfriend since she was young and that ended prematurely when her mother (a judge) sent him away to jail. Florence would like to have a boyfriend but she has always been big and ungainly. As they build their airplanes they also try to find love, not an easy task when men are in short supply.

I easily visualized these women from the descriptions Jeanette Lynes gave them. I could just see little Audrey wheeling that snack cart around the plant and Ruby typing away while trying to think of a big story that would get her noticed. Muriel, with her cane and her cigarettes sitting at her drafting table, was another clear picture. I think the one I really related to was Florence. I've been that overweight, ungainly girl looking for love in all the wrong places. I survived and so will Florence.

I'm going to offer this book to my librarian friend before I put it back into circulation.

Journal Entry 9 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, November 16, 2012
My librarian friend has this book now. I hope she likes it.

ETA: My librarian friend didn't love it. Oh well.

Journal Entry 10 by winggypsysmomwing at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (3/14/2013 UTC) at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I'll take this book to the meet-up tonight. If no-one takes it home you can find it on the OBCZ shelves.

Journal Entry 11 by Matty at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, May 04, 2013
This book got such high reviews from my bookcrossing meetup friends, I couldn't say no to it. I hope to have this read in time for a Canada Day release challenge in future.

Journal Entry 12 by Matty at Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Released 5 yrs ago (9/2/2013 UTC) at Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I lent this to my mom to read and she wild released it somewhere in Clear Lake.

Journal Entry 13 by skeletonmum at Wasagaming, Manitoba Canada on Monday, September 30, 2013
An excellent relaxing read. Enjoyed it very much.

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