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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 33/100: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

Those looking for a "light" YA book should look elsewhere. This is a difficult book, both in subject matter and in its sometimes dense writing, but it is a worthwhile one.

It is told in a somewhat epistolary fashion, which I really liked. Although you do have to suspend your disbelief just a bit, that the women writing would have as much time to write all they did and that they would remember details as well as they did, it also adds a layer of dialog to the book that wouldn't be there otherwise. Part of the book is written as a female spies "confession," although she focuses it on her best friend, pilot Maddy. I got the sense that I should be reading between the lines and felt vindicated when the second half of the book, written from Maddy's perspective, casts further light on the confession.

Although the epistolary style does reduce suspense somewhat (you know that characters survived any incident in order to write about them), it makes up for it in lending the book a feeling of authenticity and reflection that would be absent if it were told in a more traditional manner. It's a very immersive book, and I often found my mind drifting to World War II France even when I wasn't actively listening to it (I got the audio version). It does require careful attention -- I had to replay several tracks more than once -- but it is worth the investment. I really liked knowing that the author is a pilot -- the flying scenes are especially vivid and authentic.

More than anything else, though, this is a story about the friendship of two young women who meet through duty and stay connected through love, until their final, poignant act of friendship. It will not be soon forgotten.