Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How many stars?

I don't write about books very often anymore.  Even on Goodreads I just give a book some stars and move on. 3 stars means I liked it well enough, 4 stars means I'd specifically recommend it to someone, and 5 stars means I'd read it again.   Very few books inspire me to 4 stars and rarely is there a book worthy of 5.

Today, however, I just finished this book.....

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon. Somewhere in my book review blog reading I came across a review of this book.  I bought it and added it to my pile.  Had I known it was short stories, I might have passed.  What drew me, besides the beautiful cover, was the mere idea of the story.  The title says it all.  What's it like to be home while your husband is in Iraq?  I thought it would be a story told in the traditional style of a novel.  It's not.  Just short stories.  It's the writing, however, that just got me.  It leaves me without words.  What it must be like to dream of a house and a family..... fun, friends, babies, play groups...but doing those with one ear to the news.  Listening and looking and worrying and coping.  Most of all coping.  What we whine and complain about is just NOTHING.  These families would be happy to be worried about a spring that never comes.  OY.  I know that, in this day and age, people choose to join the military, but the reality is an entirely different thing.    Many times, as I read this book, I wanted to throw it down like it was a snake that had bitten me!   Each story left me feeling sad and empty and angry.  How many stars do you give a book like that?  Who would you recommend it to?  I'm sure glad I read it and hope a few others will too.

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