Little Ann’s Field of Buttercups by Ann Jacques

Rating: 2 stars
Genre: Biography/Memoir
File Size: 531KB
Printed length: 164 pages

Ann Jacques wrote Little Ann’s Field of Buttercups in her 70s from notes she collected throughout her life. She wanted to inspire young people to achieve their goals, and to show them that after making bad decisions “you can turn your life around.”

Hers was a difficult life. Abused as a child in a poor family, Ms Jacques left school at age 15 to work in a factory, and then in an office. Pregnant, she was forced to marry a man she did not like and who abused her. In the 1950s, domestic violence was tolerated and difficult to prosecute; in the end, the court awarded full custody to the father of the child.

After a while, Ms Jacques starts up another relationship, which again ends badly when her beau discovers that she had a previous marriage and child. In the 50s divorce was taboo, and she was “classed as a fallen woman.”

Once again, she becomes pregnant, has a child. Post war, there were few apartments that allowed children, and she eventually gives the child up for adoption.

After a while, she marries an older man and they emigrate to Canada, where she loves to live but her husband doesn’t. They have two children. He dupes her into going back to England for a holiday, knowing that he did not plan on returning to Canada. Because of this, she looses trust in him and they divorce.

Once again, she is on her own, doing the best she can. She continues to make bad decisions, but never gives up. In the end, she moves to Australia to live near her adult children. There she finds herself developing a meaning life with friends.

The theme of struggling against the odds and coming out victorious is very appealing, but the narrative desperately needs editing. A good copy editor could make this into a great book. For example, there is no reference to the field of buttercups. I asked Ms. Jacques the significance of the title; she chose the name because it reminds her of one of her happiest moments as a child, a time when she played in a field of buttercups. Too bad she did not tie this into the theme or storyline; it could have brought some cohesiveness to the stories.