My Book – Lily & Me

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Truly a great story if you decide to buy, you will not regret it. A wonderful gift for Christmas and other occasions.

Although a memoir, it is definitely not stuffy or boring, as one might, at first think.

I often hesitate picking up a book that is a memoir as it’s usually written by some retired politician, claiming if he hadn’t been cheated, would have become a great leader. My story is about real people in the real world and I can guarantee you will find it hard to put down. Below is a list of three of the many reviews I have received to date. One is from a friend, two are from people I have never met. I leave you to judge from their comments.

In Brief
This is a true story of the first sixteen years of my life. Before reaching my first birthday I’d lost my mother and the world was again at war. The book follows my journey through the Belfast blitz, to Scotland. The adoption by my sister and husband. Losing everything but our lives in one of the first V1 rocket attacks. In post war Britian, constantly moving and changing schools takes a toll on my education. Lily’s mental and physical abuse erodes what little confidence and self esteem I had. As I grow older, my resentment feeds a need to return to my father and family in Ireland. This is a very sad and yet sometimes funny story that will keep the reader turning pages.

I soon discover a new and strange phenomenon. I became very concerned to find my penis was often erect Apart from anything else it was difficult to pee. I was completely unaware the problem was natural. It didn’t hurt, nevertheless I was sure something was wrong. Rather than asking Lily I approached Ben in the yard one evening and explained my quandary. He readily explained in the usual sexual educational methods of the times. “Erection is normal” he says. “It just means its going to rain”. I accept his answer without question. The next morning I find myself with another erection, but the weather is dry and sunny. I decide to explore the issue further, surely a school chum will know. At the bus stop I see Tony and Agnes two of my classmates already there. I take Tony aside making sure Agnes is out of earshot. Tony who knows everything immediately confirms the question of rain. His mother told him the very same thing months ago. I’m still not convinced and pose the question, what about girls? How do they know? Tony admits he can’t answer that one. Neither of us knew much about the female anatomy, but are pretty sure they didn’t have a penis. Tony says lets ask Agnes, then shouts, hey Agnes Eric wants to ask you a question. Blushing and stuttering I ask “er .how…ur do you when its go go ing to rain. Just like everyone else you stupid boy. Well er.. yes I know that Agnes, but how can you tell?.

The Royal Navy & Me.

This is a story told through the eyes of a young sailor who joined the Royal Navy in 1955 as a Boy Seaman 2nd class, the absolute lowest rank in the Navy. Follow his induction at HMS Ganges, the toughest boy’s training establishment in England, if not the world, and his first assignment to HMS Cockade in time to visit Australia for the opening of the 1956 Olympic games. This is a thoroughly amusing tale, tempered with dark moments of despair, as he visits islands in the South Pacific, tours Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, passes through the Suez Canal en-route to Malta and Gibraltar, helps to capture an Icelandic boarding party during the Cod Wars. He dives in a submarine to play cat and mouse with our Cold War adversaries, surfaces through the polar ice at the top of the world, feel the tension in the submarine as it sinks toward crush depth. Laugh at the antics of his fellow sailors and the strange situations they found themselves in. Learn the meaning of the acronym PASAHB, and sympathize with this naive young sailor as he falls for one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Whether a sailor or a dreamer of the sea, this is one voyage not to be missed.]

How to Buy
“Lily & Me” ISBN 1-55430-019-3 is a 396 page paperback novel.
‘The Royal Navy & Me’ ISBN 1-4392-5452-4 a 208 page paperback novel.
They are available on-line at,
Also available in the UK at all WHSmith Bookstores. It is distributed by Baker & Taylor internationally and can be ordered by any bookstore. A signed copy can be ordered by contacting me. The price for Lily & Me is $16.99 US.
The price for ‘The Royal Navy & Me’ is $14.99 US

Some reviews are listed below.

2 Responses to My Book – Lily & Me

  1. irishroverpei says:

    Review from Mexico. By Frances Gallant

    LILY and ME – A Book Report

    This is a story written by someone who lived during many well known historical events. Anyone around the age of 70 today (2012) will be familiar and aware that they were alive at the time of these events even though at that time they might not have been aware of what was going on in different parts of the world. Some will remember hearing about events as they were happening because they were able to listen to the radio at the time. Others would have heard, as well, from the conversations of the adults around them if the stories of the time weren’t hidden from them to alleviate fear.

    Frederick Rodgers has chosen to write about such events for various reasons, one of which having a desire to leave a history for his children. We can follow this biography almost like a history book but there is a difference from the history books we have studied in school. This is the story as witnessed first hand. He wasn’t always there at the particular events but he gives us an impression of what it was like to be a child of awareness. He was born soon after the end of the First World War and so existed through the grim result of deprivation and hardship. Even though there were days not knowing if there would be food to put on the table he was too young at the time to be aware of what was happening. Only later he was able to realize what it was about and was able to dedicate the first four chapters to what would have been recent history – the First World War which created harsh experiences of which his parents were greatly aware.

    This is a story of a life that portrays sadness and probably had a lot to do with losing his mother at the age of 11 months by her death in 1939 on Boxing Day. Later the family decision was made to be brought up by his sister, Lily, and her husband, Ben. One harsh result would be the transfer to many different schools at the outset of his education experience and, seemingly, Lily and Ben being oblivious of the effect it was having on the young child. Being the oldest of six children, Lily became the “mother” after the death of their mother. There was no choice, given the hardship that the father had to face. Lily eventually gets married and Frederick, who is the youngest, is taken away and becomes the adopted son of her and her husband. This leads to another harsh realization later on when it is revealed to him that Lily is not his mother but his sister and, unfortunately, sets the stage for a long period of sibling rivalry.

    I thought that the saddest accounts came after the birth of Roy, Lily and Ben’s son. I had to wonder if Lily had ever treated Frederick as a son in the full sense or did she expect too much of him, and when making the normal mistakes of a child she was less than forgiving. But the hint of abuse goes a little further than Lily when adults didn’t seem to realize that when there are two children in their presence it is wrong to give all the attention to the baby while ignoring the older of the two. But Lily adds to the mistakes of child rearing when, it seems to Frederick, that the younger is regarded as being able to do no wrong while the blame for everything that goes wrong falls on him.

    There is much more to Frederick’s experience during these critical times. He talks about his fascination for cars in Chapter 11 which has led to a hobby that is still active today. Read about the excitement in Chapter 13 of travelling the London Underground to attend the Earls Court Motor Show when he was able to witness famous models of the time such as AC, Allard, Bristol, Humber, Daimler, Jowett, Sunbeam, Riley and many more that have passed on into history long before now.

    We are reminded of the darkest days of Britain and the Belfast blitz of 1941. In 1947 was the marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and in 1954 was the retirement of city trams as he recalls his last ride down Crumlin Road clutching his four penny ticket stamped ‘Last Tram Ride’.

    We are all familiar with the turmoil between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland but despite empathy we don’t always realize the complications surrounding it on a more personal level. Here, we can read of the experience – what streets to avoid when going and coming from work, the nervousness of being recognized because there weren’t visible dividing lines. Recognition might even be defined as to whether one made the sign of the cross when passing in front of a church. If you ever believed that love doesn’t recognize religious boundaries Frederick reveals that this wasn’t the case in his experience. He tries to get away with it but very soon comes to realize that religion does have a strong influence especially when adults are the overseers!

    Many other accounts in this story appeal to me because of familiarity in my own life. I remember when it was not uncommon to want to quit school to satisfy the fantasy of going out in the world to make our fortune. He learned quickly that it really was a fantasy.

    Throughout the book are accounts of the many phases of growing up, one of which we are all familiar, and that is relationships. Frederick has had tragedies as we all surely have, but his accounts of those, as he looks back after the fact, is recorded with fascination and humour. He makes one commonality clear that existed then and probably has not changed one iota since. We learn as we go along and, what is it that we hope most of all? We hope we learn from our mistakes.

    In conclusion I have mixed feelings about Lily and Ben. I disagree with Lily when she bribed Frederick to get her own way but she did follow up with her promises eventually. It seems as though she made promises she intended to keep; only it took time for her and Ben to afford that long awaited bike. Bringing him the gift of a watch on one of their visits after he was living home again tells me that she always meant well. She simply was incapable of being able to see things from Frederick’s point of view. Maybe she didn’t see Frederick as her son as much as he didn’t see her as his mother. For that reason some of the motherhood traits might not have been functioning well. She struck him from time to time but I have to admit that striking kids in that day and age was not regarded as it is today. Kids received punishment by way of physical contact not only at home but in school as well.

    I enjoyed my second reading of this book immensely having read it for the first time back in 2008 (four years ago). I had completely forgotten many parts, like the fact that Frederick’s grandfather was one of the workers to help build the Titanic. I had forgotten about much of the history of the times and didn’t remember many details of his personal life about home, school and romances. In this written account is history that spoke of terrible, harsh, cruel and, as well, happy times. For Frederick, they will be memories that will remain to the end of his days – “a proud and wonderful memory.”

    Francis J. Gallant
    A Canadian living in Mexico City

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Review from another reader
    After seeing you at the yard sale I returned to my apartment and spent the rest of the day, the evening, the night and the early morning with you and Lily. Your story was interesting and I like your style. Sometimes as I read in the night I would forget the fact that this was a true story and find myself wondering when little Frederick, Eric, Ben Cook Rodgers would morph into a MI5 spy or a serial killer. Instead I remember the dapper Irishman from my yard sale wandering. Lily And Me is a testament to the resilience of the spirit of the child. I don’t think all children are blessed with your resilience but you were and we your readers are thankful. Ivan Gallant; e-mail;

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