Well hello and welcome back! Yet another week has passed, and it’s been a pretty good one. The highlight of this past week for me has definitely been the acquiring of a certain, much-anticipated, early birthday present… What is this present you ask? Well… it is tickets to go see the musical Hamilton!! I’ve been waiting for so long for the tickets to come out, and now I’m actually going to see it! In person! In London! Never mind that it’s like 7 months away and it might as well be a half-birthday present because I’ll be over 17 1/2 when I go see it… I’m actually going to see it!! Eeek! So yes, needless to say my week has been filled with adrenaline and lots of Hamilton songs. 😀
In other news, we are now into February. Wow! As usual, I’ve been unprepared and not got my thoughts together on my top books of January. I will next week. 😀 But instead I have a review of a book I finished just this last week that I hope you’ll enjoy…
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
Published in: 1929
Genre: War Novel
PoV: primarily First Person (both singular and plural)
Number of Pages: 295
War. The very word conjures up images that should never have existed on this earth. Utter cruelty, appalling anger, the death of millions. War is disgusting and messy. Pure evil and total innocence get wound together like a tangle of yarn – leaving both sides to pull until either a solid knot forms, or one side breaks. None of this brokenness and pain was meant to be. But yet it is a reality. A saddening, shocking, and sobering reality. It’s a reality that I don’t really like to think about very often – it’s too uncomfortable. But it’s a reality of the world I live in. It’s a reality of the history that stretches out hundreds of years behind me. It’s a timeline filled with brokenness and bullets and brutality. And yet there is still a small sprig of beauty that somehow manages to poke its head up through the blood and death and violence. It is comprised of peace and laughter and hope, of brotherhood and sunshine. What a picture – though the darkness seems to overrule, yet light will always break through.
This is what that All Quiet on the Western Front gave me. This book tells the story of a young German soldier during WWI. What he goes through is unimaginable. Unspeakable horror, overwhelming death, and gruesome images of pain that sear the brain of those who must witness it. The story is in one way incredibly depressing, the stark reality of war is arrestingly bleak. But what also struck me in this story was how beauty just kept creeping in. Between the blood and the death, there was the satisfaction of food long awaited. Between the gas and the shell holes, there was the occasional patch of sunshine. Between the loneliness and the loss, there was the comradery of friendship that had gone through everything and survived.
All in all, this book left me feeling conflicted. In it, the darkness strove against the light, the beauty against the pain. And while I can appreciate how the light and beauty always comes through, at the same time something is whispering inside me – ‘This is not how it’s meant to be’. Because we were created, not to fight, but to be in a relationship. Humans were created to love beauty and light because their Creator is beauty and light. We weren’t meant to succumb to the powers of the darkness. And when I read something as startlingly clear about the horrors of war as this book is, it simply stirs up a cry within me. This is not how it is meant to be. I can appreciate the sprig of beauty, the beam of light that pierces the blackest of nights now. But oh, how I long for when the light will finally spill in reckless abundance across the darkness, swallowing it up forever…