new: 31st Jan.
I heard fantastic things about this book. I knew it had an unreliable narrator, that it made people cry, and that there are NO SPOILERS ON THE INTERNET (according to Tessa Gratton), but that was basically it. So I gave it a chance.
I didn't cry. It was terribly heart-wrenching, but I didn't cry.
It's a very well-written, well-paced book. The atrocity of the war (WWII) is kept at arms length, so I could stomach the violence. And the narrator is DEFINITELY unreliable.
...which is probably why I didn't cry. I said on twitter that I must have a heart made of ice since I didn't cry, and twitter agreed with me. SO MANY PEOPLE CRIED. But I didn't. Give me an unreliable narrator and I'll write you a treatise on truth, as I said to Kate Johnston. Because if there's an unreliable narrator, I will refuse to believe that certain things happened.
Take Ophelia's death in "Hamlet" as an example. I FIRMLY hold by my argument that Ophelia was murdered, because Gertrude being there and seeing her drown without helping is miiiighty suspicious. How can we trust that Gertrude's version of events is true, since it happened offstage? (I also just like throwing my Lit class into a furor, as I did when I suggested that Horatio didn't exist and was instead just a figment of Hamlet' imagination. I'm laughing just remembering it. My Lit teacher gave me this look that was half, "you're a genius, no one's ever thought of that" and half "no one's ever thought of that because it's a CRAZYPANTS idea!")
I got sidetracked. Where was I?
Oh, right. I can rant about the nature of truth and perception vs. reality vs. what we're told for LITERALLY HOURS. And Code Name Verity started me thinking about it again, so there might be a post up soon about truth and unreliable narrators. Dunno. We'll see.
In any case, it's a wonderful book, full of clever one-liners, heart-stopping and heart-wrenching moments, and memorable characters.
Recommended for: Anyone who can stomach the violence and understand the context.