Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Absolutist by John Boyne

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

I would compare how I read the last 100 pages of this book to ripping off a a band-aid: I didn't want to do it, but I did it really fast, knowing the pain that would evidently come.

I don't know why I requested to read this book, maybe I like torturing myself. I knew it would be tragic. I basically knew what the book was about and how it would end. Well, I thought I did. There was one twist that I didn't see coming, and it made the tears run down my face in lightning speed.

There's nothing happy about this book. Nothing. Not a damn thing. However, the writing was fabulous. Not only was I transported back to the horrors of WWI, but the damn thing made me feel. It made me feel anger and sadness. Every book I read about WWI furthers my thinking into what a stupid war it was. War is stupid – there is no point.

None of the characters were particularly likeable or sympathetic, but who says they need to be. These were kids fighting in a grown man's war. Kids who still didn't know who they were and were trying to figure that out in the midst of trying to live until the next day. They were kids making grown decisions in the middle of a battlefield, with the enemy only a few hundred yards away. And the decisions they made seem ludicrous once they get back to 'real life'. I wanted to shout at some of them, but who knows how I'd be if I was in their situation.

It's a relatively short book, and you can read a synopsis yourself, because while I do sometimes write a few lines about what a book is about, I won't here. Or maybe I will: The Absolutist is absolutely realistic. The events in it could very well have happened; there's nothing unbelievable about them, and that's what makes it all the more tragic. It will rip your heart into a million pieces.

I haven't read anything else by the author, and I'm not sure if I will. Not because he's not a good writer, because it'd evident that he's a great one, but because my heart just can't take this anymore.  My heart aches for the characters, and the ending is one that will attach itself to my brain. I can't forget it.


Marg said...

I have only read Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was heartbreaking too, but oh so good!

Judith Starkston said...

Books that are absolutely realistic about war are rare. What in interesting find. Not sure if I'll endure the torture but WWI is a fascinating war. Too bad its horrors didn't turn out to be the war to end all wars as people felt it must be at the end.

Unknown said...

I saw this one and didn't pick it. I am disappointed that I didn't. This sound like a great book.

Anna and Serena said...

Your review will be featured on War Through the Generations on Aug. 14. Thanks for participating in the challenge!