Reader Reviews

book cover - before the last all clear by Ray EvansA selection of reader reviews. Please feel free to submit your own review here, check out Ray’s facebook page to join the conversation there and Follow Ray on Twitter, we look forward to hearing from you.

“Before The Last All Clear” is a truly remarkable story. A boy, separated from his family and everyone he knows, deposited into the homes of those who would mistreat him, sets an inspiring example of strength and bravery. Rather than giving up, letting others drag him into an overwhelming swamp of stagnant depression, this boy stood fast against the demons that would strangle the heart of even most adults.

We here in the US rarely consider the last Great War from the perspective of a child, hiding as the bombs fall throughout the night, which is described perfectly, as though coming straight from a child’s lips, not an adult pretending to think like one. This was a refreshingly raw and honest story, where little- recognized battles fought by the children of the war were sometimes every bit as devastating. It’s a story every American should read, so that we can understand how valuable our innocent childhoods of relative safety and security have been, and how lucky we are to never have fought a war on our own soil in recent history. It should be a part of classroom reading. And it should also be presented on film.

Thanks for sharing your childhood with us. It was very touching, especially the final reunion with Mrs. Williams, which brought tears to my eyes.”

~ Ben Snyder, Beltsville, MD

“I wanted to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed your book. I found your writing style easy reading, especially the parts that at the time must have been horrifying, but when relayed to the adult reader, are incredibly funny. The pool in the church is one. I just couldn’t stop laughing. I could just imagine you with eyes wide open wondering what in the world they were doing. Your experience with the cigarette another funny story. Your humor, intermingled with a true horror story, brings to mind the saying ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger.’ It’s actually very motivational and shows your inner strength prevailed and kept you going. Your stay with Mrs. Jones was difficult, but with the Simmons, well how you were treated is incomprehensible. It makes me wonder just how many children didn’t make it back home, how many didn’t survive the separa- tion from their families and poor treatment by the surrogates?”

~ Cheryl Sciecinski

“I found the book fascinating, heartbreaking, and intensely moving. The thoughts and feelings of the common man about the war are seldom told in history books and the perspective of a child is never heard. This book takes you into the world of a child whose universe has been shattered. Everything he knew, even the people he loved were taken from him. It is a story filled with love, fear, confusion and triumph. Mr. Evans tells his story simply and honestly. I found the book impossible to put down—I was in that time with him, living through what he lived through.

“I highly recommend this book.”

~ Lynnda Petersen

“Ray takes us back to those days and tells us what it was like, the desperations, the fear, the need to make life changing decision on a moment’s notice, even the hunger and the cold. He also shows us himself in those days, a child of amazing strength, separated from his family, moved from one unhappy ‘billet’ to another. In his writing, he has been able to convey the extraordinary hard- ships he endured but he does not seek our pity.”

~ Felicity Vaughan Swayze

“While reading, I found myself fighting with Ray to survive, cheering his minor victories, and admonishing those who caused him pain…all the while thinking could I have the strength to walk in his shoes? The straightforward, ‘plain-talk’ style of the author made this a book I not only couldn’t, but didn’t want to put down.

“Thank you, Ray, for sharing your story.”

~ Adrienna Smith

“I read this entire book in one sitting. I read many, many books and this is definitely one of my favorites. I will definitely read it again. It is a wonderful and powerful story. There is no better way to learn about people than to hear or read their story. Ray was very generous to share his story with the world.”

~ Derek York

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up this book. To my surprise, I was instantly taken back to WWII and found it difficult to put the book down.

I must say, Raymond handled himself much better than I would have, especially with Mrs. Simmons. The book gives you a chance to experience real events during WWII, but also gives you a glimpse into humanity and how each person handles the situation in front of them. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and thank you Mr. Evans for putting your memories onto paper so that I could re-live this time with you.”

~ Pamela Kosmowski

“I have just finished reading your fabulous book. From the start was easy to recognize your very unique style of storytelling, you write just like someone talking. I “became” that little 6 year old boy and enjoyed it from cover to cover—and you were right! It made me cry, several times, but it also made me laugh right out loud many times. I was sad to come the last page and look forward to your next book.”

~ Jeanette Davis

“I too was an evacuee during the war. Before the Last All Clear brought back so many memories as I began reading. Please let me know when the sequel is available so that I may purchase a copy.”

~ Kenneth J. Beech

“I have just returned from England and I saved your book for the trip. I really enjoyed it, and it was hard to put down because I wanted to see what happened to you.”

~ Jill Musico

“I read your book in less than two days, a feat that I haven’t done in 40 years. Be sure to let us know when your next book is available.”

~ Russ Fill

“I literally felt like I was there and while my heart broke as the adult world looked at the big picture and often times didn’t see this little boy, this is a story about a child who knew it was all going to be up to him now. This book is not a tragedy it is a gift of love to anyone who reads it. Every adult who he has a child needs to read this book. This is the only book I have bought in hardcover and I will buy the sequel. I cannot wait to see what happens.”

~ Alexi K. Hilton