Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

I read SO many raving recommendation of this one I didn't even read the blurb before I delved into it. I only read what it was about when I was quite surprised the plot takes place in 1916..

This book suppose to be divided into two parts, one in WWI and the second in "our times" (2006), told by two different women, both at a quite difficult time in their lives - the first, during the war and the second after losing her husband. It's also suppose to be some kind of love story. But since this one is a DNF at 25% I can't tell you a lot..  I can only write of what I actually read...

So while I started this one with great expectations, I kept waiting for it to turn "great" but after 25% I realized it's probably not going to change a lot so no reason to make myself keep reading it. The story begins from Sophie's POV, a woman living in small village in France occupied by German soldiers. The main issue (Besides being oppressed) is there's not enough food for the locals while the Germans have provisions (either that they get from outside the village or they took from the villagers). I can tell you I was STARVED while reading since the food is the main thing that caught my senses and you can bet there isn't a page without some sort of food being mentioned (especially the lack of food).

Sophie lives with her two siblings (teenage brother and an older sister with two kids) in the hotel that belongs to her family. They are poor, like everyone else, they have no provisions, and they are trying to make it all less terrible on the small kids. The German Commander asks Sophie to prepare food for the German soldiers (with provisions he brings her) and while he does that he tries to somehow get closer to her. He is an interesting character that doesn't get enough "page time". There IS something going on there (from his part) but I'm not sure what and since all the other plot didn't capture me in any way I couldn't be bothered to continue...  I should say that Sophie IS a very strong woman, especially for her times which was nice to read, sadly she isn't interesting or compelling enough.

I think it's save to say that though things happen constantly in the book, nothing REALLY happens.. There's hiding a pig from the Germans, there's this woman who is hated by everyone for sleeping with a German, there are two old ladies that love to gossip and can be found in the bakery, there's a story about a clock that was buried with other treasures to be kept from the German which started chiming all of a sudden. Things like that, from an everyday life as a captured village in a war. The general feeling of no hope, no salvation, missing loved ones, and naturally starvation is what you get in this part.

When I realized this book is going nowhere I started reading reviews to sort of see what to expect. I found out what I wrote above - the story having two parts and the second one suppose to be totally different. So I thought I should try and get there! But at a certain point I felt like I'm really making myself keep reading and why would the second part be any different? The depression wouldn't be different even if the reasons for it are.. In the second part it's not the war but a woman mourning her husband's death. I thought to myself, maybe it means there's going to be romance, since in the part I've read there is nothing even resembling romance (a part from one scene from Sophie's past remembering how she met her husband which I actually nice!).

I usually enjoy reading heavy duty books, the depressing kind. But here there is no great dialogue or great internal thinking or SOMETHING that's happening around the MC to make me interested. Maybe a more "family oriented" or "society oriented" person would enjoy it since I couldn't care any less about the little kids or the town's folk. I don't know..

So sadly, this is a total miss for me.. I know I"m in a minority here which always make me feel better for not being part of a flow of haters to demolish the author's work. I appreciate authors for the huge investment they put into their writing which is why I hate writing a review that might discourage an author from his or her work. So I rather be in the place that I am now - the strange minority that simply didn't find what I was looking for. But you might! :)

  (DNF 25%)

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 369 pages, 9-11 September 2014 / On GoodReads

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