Several WWI Reading Challenge participants recently reviewed My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young. Here are excerpts; click the links to read the full reviews.
Lit and Life said:
Young is British and it comes across in her writing, which I loved. She is equally good at writing about the angst and passion of love and the horrors of war. She is, in fact, so good at writing about war, I sometimes had to take a break from the book. The characters, although they are not particularly unique (if you’ve read Atonement they will be familiar to you), quickly become three-dimensional. Young doesn’t spare her characters, they are all flawed but in a way that makes them feel human.
Diary of an Eccentric said:
My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is a novel that really gets to the heart of what it means to go to war and how nothing will ever be the same again for both the soldiers and their loved ones, even if they are lucky enough to come home. Young doesn’t shy away from describing the horrific things that happen in war, including the fear that prompted some soldiers to go to great lengths to escape the fighting, and she also emphasizes the home front, from the misinformation in the newspapers to the impact of the war on a marriage.
Savvy Verse & Wit said:
Young has the skill and detail to capture the horrors of war from the adrenaline rush of battle to the devastation of losing one’s companions and comrades. She also captures in realistic and devastating description the medical procedures used to reconstruct faces and other body parts of wounded soldiers — so much so, that some readers may squirm in their seats. The war itself becomes a character taking over all that is good and twisting it, shoving the best bits into the waste bin. However, the overarching themes celebrate the perseverance of the human spirit and its ability to recover from even the most devastating injuries — no matter if they are physical or emotional.
While some of the subject matter can be disturbing the author’s writing is beautiful. She so vividly describes what a soldier is seeing and feeling that at times it’s hard to read and yet you can’t tear your eyes away from the horror of it all. Above everything else though it is a novel of everlasting love even in the face of the seemingly impossible.
The Written World said:
I am still toying with what I actually thought of this book. Initially I thought I was going to love it. The characters are well-written, the storyline is believable, and the author chooses to look at aspects of the war that are not necessarily the norm. I found myself engaged in what was going on and curious about how everything was going to play out. Then, the ending happened. I am still not sure if I liked it. It almost seemed rushed to me and on the one hand so much was going on, but on the other hand she was racing to conclude everything. I think I ultimately like how the book ended, but I am not so happy about how it played out. I still really enjoyed the book, but I am not quite as enamoured as I was in the beginning.
**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**
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