My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Until I was almost half way through this book, I was thinking There’s not much point in reading this, as the title says it all. I could see it coming. One of the main characters would meet a violent death with so many things left unsaid. I was wrong!
This book is definitely worth reading.
It is multi-threaded, which I always love. The love stories are varied and bring out the contrasts in the way different people deal with situations and with the people closest to themselves.
There is a great deal about the effects of war and of class distinctions.
An image of the templated postcard for the use of returning injured soldiers which inspired Louisa Young to write this story appears on the back cover, suitably completed to match the characters in the book. I have posted a photo of this card with the book description.
I don’t go along with Tatler’s comment, ‘Birdsong for the new millennium.’ I admit that don’t really understand it. Apart from anything else, I really don’t think that it is fair to compare the two books. But then, I may be biased, as Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War is one of my all time favourites. Also, how can a book about WW1 be something for the new millennium?
One strong aspect of the book that I found really interesting and thought-provoking, were the descriptions of the early days of plastic surgery. Great advances in this field have always been made as a consequence of the horrific injuries inflicted on combatants in wars. Others benefit, of course, but which set of patients appreciate those benefits the most?
Dismember: to take to bits.
Remember: to put back together.
As with most books which really do get inside the stories of war, one is left with the thought Why would we ever let this happen again? But we do. We never learn.
I was only awarding My Dear three stars when I reached the half-way point, but it thoroughly deserved four or more by the time I read the final pages.