All in all, this book was just okay-to-good. It tells the story of an apolitical widow who is caught up in the 1971 Bangledesh War of Independence, and of her reluctant contributions as her son and daughter join the resistance. And it really is her story, as the author shows us her grief and fear and longing, but once war begins, we are kept removed from events and even, to some extent, from the emotions. Still, the story is populated with refugees and soldiers and citizens who must choose where their loyalties lie, so it kept my interest through the end.
Hardcover version, which I picked up as a discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Adventureland 24: Take the Jungle Cruise. Read a book set in Africa or Asia, or that has an exotic animal on the cover. This book fits because it is set in East Pakistan, in Asia.
Quick review for a quick read that I picked up from my library's audio collection. Powerful and really wonderful character exploration, which is typical of Ellen Hopkins's books. Pattyn is a young woman living in a tightly knit religious community and abusive household. She strongly laments her inability to grow as a young woman - in relationships, in asserting herself among other things - as well as watching her mother being subjected to her father's fists. After a series of incidents in which she acts out, she's sent to live with her aunt and begins to know what it means to have a better life for herself, including being valued in a romantic relationship with her S.O. (Ethan). In the end, she's not prepared to return to the household that cast her out, yet she never really wanted to leave completely behind, and things only turn for the worst after that point. I'll admit it hit me like a punch to a gut and I couldn't shake the emotional upheaval it left within me long after turning the final page.
"Burned", like the other books of Hopkins I've read, went down so smoothly and quick for the overarching read - I really enjoyed the audio narration of the novel as well as the poetic form she uses to tell Pattyn's story. She captures Pattyn's thoughts, questions, fears, uncertainty, and emotion to the teeth, and I liked being able to follow her throughout. I thought her fears and concerns were front and center, making me feel her struggle, but I think there were opportunities of depth and debate (particularly around the religious community concerns, since Pattyn lives in a Mormon household) that were missed. I definitely look forward to reading the next novel in this series, though the cliffhanger ending makes me all the more anxious to get to it as soon as possible.
Overall score: 4/5 stars.
This generational novel is centered on 3 women --- 2 of them cousins from well-to-do English families with long pedigrees and the third, an Irish American Catholic hailing from Chicago, where her father, a physician with interests in party politics, has been elected to the U.S. Senate --- who meet as first-year students at Oxford in 1932.
As the Thirties unfold, the reader is witness to the effects of the contending political movements of the era (communism vs. fascism) on both cousins and its effects, both direct and indirect, upon their families & friends, and their social milieu. As for their American friend who has ingratiated herself among her Oxford contemporaries with her verve, sense and beauty, she "watches and keeps her own counsel, earning the respect and affection of all their circle."
Elizabeth Edmondson has written a novel that grows on the reader the more he/she reads it. Characters - major and minor alike - are well-fleshed out and quickly take on lives of their own that are easy to relate to. That's why over the past couple of days, I raced through this novel. I almost felt as if I were being pulled through the 1930s, experiencing a world perched on a precipice that would soon crumble and fall into the depths of the Second World War. Simply put, "VOYAGE OF INNOCENCE" is one of the best novels I've read so far this year.