on April 2, 2014 :
I enjoyed the book. It is well-written, and well-edited. It flows nicely, chronologically, and the Postscript gives us some closure. I would have loved to have seen photographs in the book to accompany the story.
The largest portion of the book covers the time the couple lived in Italy. That is why I requested a review-copy of Letters Home. The couple lived near Brindisi on the heel of Italy's boot, and they took every opportunity to travel through Italy and Europe. It is interesting to see what has changed and what has stayed the same in forty years.
Letters Home feels like the contents of a time-capsule from over forty years ago that has been opened and made public. That feeling comes not only from the far greater number of European military bases in that period, but also to the social and economic situations in America and Europe. What I found most striking was the depiction of innocence and decency in the U.S. that seems to have been replaced in forty years time by much harshness and crudity.
Perhaps the contrast is so strong due to the decency of the narrator and her husband, and of their families? Perhaps it is because of the lovely, human details included in the book, and the direct, honest, simple narrative style? Or perhaps the contrast is so strong because a major crude and rude-ification of U.S. society has taken place in the past forty years? I will leave the answer to that question to you.
I found this time-capsule book a fascinating read. Because of my age, I could see what had changed in the forty or so years since the letters were written. I could also see what had not changed much in that time. I find myself wondering what younger readers might make of the book? And what might military spouses think of it? Italy, warts and all.
Read my full review at Italophile Book Reviews
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)