I just received a three-star book review, and I’m thrilled! Why? Because it’s a fair and honest review, and because its writer has understood what I was trying to do in the book. So here are some lessons to be learned:
(may mean that your mother wrote it!)
( probably means just what it says: a good book but not the reader’s favorite genre)
I’ll take the three star reviewer any day of the week.
This fellow was looking for battles and tales of comradeship, and he didn’t find them. If he had ever been in one of my history classes, he would have known that “I don’t do battles.” I’m interested in the causes that lead people to war (in hope that we can learn from them about what not to do.) I’m interested in the effects of war (so that we better understand what happens when the battles are over). And more than anything, I want to tell the “stories behind the history “— the stories of the people who don’t make it into textbooks — but who suffer because of what goes on in those battles. And I think he “got” that. Listen to what he says:
"This book is not an action-oriented tale of battlefield and comradeship. It is instead a thoughtful narrative, driven by dialogue between and among the characters as the war begins and continues in all its challenges and emergencies; these strains that the war placed [upon] the civilians, becomes the heart of this story. What action exists in the book is usually related in letters the family members receive from relatives and friends in the Confederate forces, or in local discussions of the events. The steady decline of food supplies in the South (the Grenvilles tirelessly tend their vegetable gardens to hold back hunger), and the inevitable decline of the South is told quickly in the last pages, which makes a nice metaphor for the painful defeat that no one wanted to face.
"Damned Yankee" is a good tale of the war from the perspective of the overlooked bystanders who bear no arms but suffer equally from the ravages of the conflict.