The Girl From Number 7, Windsor Avenue: A Memoir

Vivienne Grilliot Worthington

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 298 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781663248763 Reviewed: June, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

Author Vivienne Grilliot Worthington recalls her adventures and the lessons she learned along the way in this engaging memoir.

Worthington describes her pleasant, pride-filled life as a child at the titular address in the town of Flixton, Lancashire, England, a street named for the royal family. At times, she imagined occupying a room in Queen Elizabeth’s castle.

Her maternal grandparents lived nearby, and she stayed with them when her English mother sometimes left to join her father, an American military man serving far away. Eventually, the family moved to France to live on a military base. There, Worthington was baffled by the many social and linguistic differences. She gradually learned French and found a close friend whose black father reminded her of Nat King Cole.

This was the first of many moves. In her early teens, the family lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, then in the throes of the nascent civil rights movement. Her wise, caring father advised her not to interfere with the local, long-embedded racism, but more than once, Worthington was unable to suppress her opinions since she had previously contentedly co-existed with people of different races and ethnicities.

Later, the author recalls the Cuban Missile Crisis, assassination of John F. Kennedy, the beginning of the Vietnam War, and the meetings and partings with other teens as the group skittered between Europe and the U.S.

Worthington candidly expresses her emotions, as in the opening episode describing the illness of her beloved brother Johnny, and is also entertaining, as when she tries to help her father cut down a Christmas tree. She deftly depicts her peripatetic existence as an “army brat,” which is interesting and engaging, although her sometimes-daily timeframe often provides more detail than readers may wish.

Overall, Worthington’s chronicle should appeal to readers who haven’t traveled widely, and anyone, like her, who has been fated to become a “child of the world.”

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