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ARCHIVES > BOTM Sep 2019 - Testament of Youth

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Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Share your thoughts here.


message 2: by Celia (new)

Celia (cinbread19) | 396 comments Mod
Hey Kelly you are right on top of things. I will be reading this but will probably finish in October. xxoo


message 3: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 273 comments I read this book back in the 80s and it still resonates in my mind. There was also an excellent British tv series of the book, from the 80s as well.


message 4: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Dawn | 103 comments I'm listening to it on audio right now, and will probably be done within the week. Really love it so far.

I haven't seen the original miniseries, but I did see the 2014 movie on netflix before I even realized the book was on the 1001 book list. I loved the movie so much I was incredibly stoked to start the book. (If it wasn't a book club book here, I would have put it on my TBR for the other group for next year for sure).


message 5: by Clare (new)

Clare Boucher | 12 comments I’m planning to re-read this, but it might take me until October. I just started Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad, which has over 900 pages. Keeping my fingers crossed for some rainy weekends. I last read it in my late teens and loved it then.


message 6: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 95 comments Amanda wrote: "I'm listening to it on audio right now, and will probably be done within the week. Really love it so far.

I haven't seen the original miniseries, but I did see the 2014 movie on netflix before I e..."


Amanda I had the same experience as you. I saw the movie fell in love and then realized it was on the 1001 list.


message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 95 comments Clare wrote: "I’m planning to re-read this, but it might take me until October. I just started Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad, which has over 900 pages. Keeping my fingers crossed for some rainy weekends. I last r..."

Good luck Clare that is quite a big book.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 95 comments I read this last year and here is my review. I gave it 5 stars.

I saw the movie Testament of Youth in 2016 and enjoyed it. I did not know at the time that it was based on a book, even more I did not know it was on the list for 1001. I ended my year on a good note, this book was fantastic. Even though it was non-fiction, it read like a novel. I didn't realize what a spitfire Vera Brittain was, she was a champion of women rights, equality, socialism, and pacifism. I think her experience in World War I is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.

“How Can War Ever Be Right?” Professor Gilbert Murry.

“The First World War was the culmination of personal war; men saw the other human being they had killed, visibly dead. Men fought with bayonets, with knives or even their bare hands.”

“War had not yet become a pitting of scientist against scientist or technologist against technologist. Death was not, on either side, elimination through pressing a button, but something seen and experienced personally, bloody, pathetic and foul.”

“On Sunday morning, June 27th, 1915, I began my nursing at the Devonshire Hospital. The same date, exactly ten years afterwards, was to be for me, equally memorable. Between the one day and the other lies the rest of this book.”

“There seemed to be nothing left in the world, for I felt that Roland had taken with him all my future and Edward all my past.”

“The world was mad and we were all victims; that was the only way to look at it. These shattered, dying boys and I were paying alike for a situation that one of us had desired or done anything to bring about.”

“For the first time I realized, with all that full realisation meant, how completely everything that had hitherto made up my life had vanished with Edward and Roland, with Victor and Geoffrey. The war was over, a new age was beginning; but the dead were dead and would never return.”


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
You have all made me more excited to read this so I went and bought it on audible.


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Dawn | 103 comments Finished the audio this week! It was remarkable in exactly the ways I was expecting and hoping based on my experience in the movie. So glad I've read it, even though it was so devastating at times, it was also such a rewarding read.

I think Diane really captured the book with the quotes she picked out. There was another one I really liked after Roland’s death where Vera is looking over the stars in France and says she’d like to think one of them is Roland.

Even after the war ends in the book, Vera’s foray into the pacifist, feminist, and labour movements was really fascinating to me. She was really such a formidable woman in history.

One thing I thought was really cool was how she speaks about her generation after the war having no issue openly discussing partying, abortion, and homosexuality. Which is so remarkable when I don’t think I considered society as fine with covering those things until super recently. It really broke my heart to think of the post WWI generation becoming so progressive into the 20s just to have WWII and the mentality of the 50s happen. It really made me think of the fragility of progression.

Something else that is tangential to the book that I think is worth sharing is Edward’s full story. Apparently after the book was published, his former CO told Vera that he was about to get court-martialled after the battle he died in due to love letters he wrote to other male soldiers being uncovered. His CO was not supposed to warn him about it, but did anyway. He apparently ran ahead of his unit directly into fire when he died, likely in an act of suicide. Knowing that on top of everything else in the book is just so tragic.

While it is a difficult read, I think it is an essential one, especially in the current political climate. I think it makes the case for pacifism, labour rights, feminism, and anti-nationalism better than almost any other book I’ve read. Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s comments as well!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
Thanks for all your comments. I just purchased the audio today so plan to squeeze it in before the month ends. Is anyone else reading it?


message 12: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 139 comments Yes, I just finished it.
It is an amazing book. At first you find Vera, our author and narrator, to be a bit of a snotty, cynical upper middle class going to Oxford girl, and I worried about the length of the book. However, her written voice is very strong and you fall into that voice and really understand the war and the aftermath through a very specific viewpoint that is unique to the literature of this time. Unique not because she experiences it differently but because she really captures that experience. It got a bit slow during all the League lectures and papers but I would not cut that out because it was necessary to understand a person who was rebuilding a life after all life was taken away. It might not have been particularly dramatic but it was what she did to regain a sense of contributing to the solutions rather than simply bearing the problems.
Also, I truly loved the fact that she wrote much of the book in letters while it was happening and could refer back to those letters to pull together the book.
I am glad to have been introduced to this amazing woman that I knew nothing about.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 867 comments Mod
I finally finished this extraordinary book! 5 stars!

My review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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