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helenliz

helenliz

Testament of Youth (Penguin Classics)

Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain, Mark Bostridge This is an eyeopening book. An autobiography of a woman born just prior to the turn of the 20th C, describing her experiences through WW1 until 1925. It is, as might be expected, massive in scope, describing how the war changed things on both a large and small scale. Individually, she lost the boys/men closest to her, as well as giving up her security and a university place to be a nurse. All of which has an emotional burden that is played out through the book. However, it is also clear how the war changed society as well. For example, she had to overcome intense resistance to go to Oxford and was, initially, not eligible for a degree (only awarded to men at the time). The contrast of the personal and the international events makes for an interesting dynamic. That might sound depressing, but it isn't. There are terribly sad moments and it bought me to the verge of tears more than once, but it proves that life goes on, despite anything that is thrown at us. she continues to serve through intense dissappointment in the war itself, then has to deal with the suvivor guilt of the early post war years. Then there is the issue of being faithful to her lost love when she meets someone else. An emotional rollercoaster, in some ways, but all described in very restrained good manners. The past may as well be another country, so far is it from anything I recognise