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on Aug. 15, 2011 :
I've read a few stories of war, enough to have a grasp on the human situation during wartime. Although, none of the books I have read have garnered my sympathies as much as this one. It's a love story, a story of camaraderie, and a tragedy all in one. This is the story of Drake, a young American soldier, who, against strict anti-fraternization order, falls in love with a German named Klara. It's more than a love story, though. It's a glimpse into the psyche of the soldier at war. As a veteran of war, Mr. Bacigalupa has firsthand accounts of what war is like, and the state of mind of the soldier after one's been in hell for too long.
While there is not a lot of action to this book—it's uncanny when you think about it, a book about war with little action—there's a lot of emotion. My grandfather was a veteran of World War II. He fought in the Pacific, and although he told me a few stories, he never told me what it truly was like. This book showed me the ins and outs of occupying a village, the boredom, the loneliness, the way the trauma of the bloodshed a soldier had already seen could eat away at his sanity. All of this could only be accomplished by someone who had truly been there and experienced it.
Simply written, it's simply great. If there's anything that I did not like about this book, it would be the end. I wanted more. Please tell me there is more somewhere. And if not, Mr. Bacigalupa, get writing!
(reviewed long after purchase)