It is Book Club Day!
This week I read two novels and enjoyed both even though I just realized both are about heavy, provoking, tough, important topics and life challenges. Anyways.....
Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn
Matterhorn is a marvel--a living, breathing book with Lieutenant Waino Mellas and the men of Bravo Company at its raw and battered heart. Karl Marlantes doesn't introduce you to Vietnam in his brilliant war epic--he unceremoniously drops you into the jungle, disoriented and dripping with leeches, with only the newbie lieutenant as your guide. Mellas is a bundle of anxiety and ambition, a college kid who never imagined being part of a "war that none of his friends thought was worth fighting," who realized too late that "because of his desire to look good coming home from a war, he might never come home at all." A highly decorated Vietnam veteran himself, Marlantes brings the horrors and heroism of war to life with the finesse of a seasoned writer, exposing not just the things they carry, but the fears they bury, the friends they lose, and the men they follow. Matterhorn is as much about the development of Mellas from boy to man, from the kind of man you fight beside to the man you fight for, as it is about the war itself. Through his untrained eyes, readers gain a new perspective on the ravages of war, the politics and bureaucracy of the military, and the peculiar beauty of brotherhood
My Dad fought in the Vietnam War and I have always been interested in war/soldier stories. I enjoyed this novel because it is so real, raw and such an insight into the background of being a soldier (this case a Marine). Sure there were a lot more F words and sex-related snippets but hey, it is a group of men, fighting in a foregin country/jungle, what else is going to happen :) I love that Karl wrote such an honest and powerful story because he actually lived it and did it all. A great insight into a war that is not thought of kindly, the men who served during Vietnam did not and still do not deserve the rude and negative attitudes,etc that people have given them, they fought hard and saw the worst of the World. Thank you,Karl, for writing something magical and powerful with such pride and reality. It is a hard read (topic wise) but a fulfilling and fast one.It was mind blowing to realize that at the end of the novel it had seemed like a year or two journey and yet it was really only a couple months for the Marines. It made me think even more about what my Dad went through during his tour over there. I give an A.
The Good Sister by Drusilla Campbell
(from her website)
Roxanne Callahan has always been her younger sister’s caretaker. Now married, her happiness is threatened when she must choose between her husband and the beautiful and emotionally unstable Simone. Suffering from crippling postpartum depression, Simone has committed an unforgivable crime for which Roxanne comes to believe she is partially responsible. In the glare of the national media attention brought on her sister, Roxanne fights to hold her marriage together as she is drawn back into the pain of her troubled past and relives the fraught relationship she and Simone shared with their narcissistic mother. At the same time, only she can help Simone’s nine-year-old daughter, Merell, make sense of the family’s tragedy. The Good Sister is the story of four generations of women struggling to overcome a legacy of violence, lies and secrecy, ultimately finding strength and courage to endure in their love for each other.
This book roped me in from the very start with interesting characters, great story-telling and such a raw and real plot. However, this whole book just made me sad, sad for the main character, sad for her sister and her children, sad for the grandma, sad for the whole story. I was just waiting and waiting for "the shoe to drop" and for it all to go south. Postpartum depression is such a delicate and sometimes complicated matter and topic but Drusilla discusses it beautifully because it affected her own life. I can't wait to read more books written by her because her writing and story-telling is exceptional. Even though it is a tough topic, I give this book a B/A.
Happy Friday & Happy Reading!
Have a great weekend!