Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks 3/5
Birdsong concentrates on Stephen Wraysford's life before and during WW1 in France, his relationship breakdown before the war and how this effects him during the war and for the rest of his life, as well as his granddaughter Elizabeth's discovery of his secret journals in her mother's attic, which ultimately leads her to discovering what happened to her grandfather.
I really really wanted to love this novel, I'd heard so many good things about it, but...I'm not a fan. It's raw, it's honest, it's brutal. It made me feel horrible, and it distressed me greatly. It takes a lot for a book to distress me, and this one did it with great ease. That's the problem with it, it doesn't just 'depress' you, it distresses you, which is something far greater, a much more hurtful emotion to experience. Faulks' words unlock every emotion inside of you, making your heart ache and your head hurt from the amount of cruel images rushing through your mind. There's no doubt about it that the truth of war comes through in this book in an incredibly powerful way, but be prepared to feel very uneasy and distressed about half way through until the end. After reading Birdsong I actually had to rest. REST. It wore me out so much and made me feel so miserable that I had to take a nap before watching episodes of 'Friends' to cheer me up.
I think you need to read this book though, I think everyone needs to read it, just to realize how brutal war is. I've been interested in both WW1 and 2 for years, I've done it in school, researched it for my own family history, visited countless war graves and found my ancestor's war grave in Belgium, and one of my favourite things to do is wander around the Imperial War Museum in London. But nothing, absolutely nothing, has made me feel the way this novel made me feel. Faulks' words touched me like no grave, no memorial, no film, and no museum ever have. It opened up emotions inside of me that I have only ever felt when experiencing loss and grief, and it made me feel disgusted by the human race and what we are capable of.