Stalin Ate My Homework, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The Sayles might not have been the only Jewish atheist communist family in Liverpool, but Alexei knew from an early age that they were one of the more eccentric. Born on the day egg rationing came to an end, Alexei was the only child of Joe, an affable trade unionist who led the family on railway expeditions across eastern Europe, and Molly, a hot-tempered red-head who terrified teachers and insisted Alexei see the Red Army Choir instead of the Beatles. Perceptive and hilarious, this is a portrait of a family, a city, a country and a continent going through enormous changes.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual actors & performers
  • ISBN: 9780340919590



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I loved this book. Like (my memories of) Sayle's comedy routines, it takes some unusual routes to explain growing up in Liverpool's Anfield. It made me laugh out loud. Having spent some time in Liverpool some of the comments (hard hippies) made me nod in recognition, and his memories of being a child amongst adults are fascinating. I loved his willingness to mock himself, too. Accounts of trips across Europe and being an angsty teenager in pubs pursued by (more popular) parents were highlights for me.

Review by

Having parents who took me to 1980s Poland (just before martial law was declared in 1981!) and Czechoslovakia in 1982 this brought back many memories. Particularly the tour of the Heydrich assasination sites in Prague, although I found it more interesting than young Alexei...<br/><br/>My parents were not hard-core British Communist Party members, and this aspect of Alexei's upbringing I found particularly interesting, especially their responses to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.<br/><br/>The book is slow in a number of places and I found the last 40 or so pages less interesting than the earlier ones, however this account of 1960s and 70s Britain reflects accurately some of the conflict and dogma that dominated the politics of the period.<br/><br/><br/>Some non UK readers will find aspects less easy to follow, but UK readers should find some resonances with their lives in the 60s and 70s.

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