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Next to Love Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0679643699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679643692
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Next To Love is the story of three women and the role World War II plays on their lives.
Beth
I of course always knew what a hard time this must have been for so many people, but this book really made me feel it through these women's lives.
AnneB
I know that like the characters in this book for them the war never really ended--they carried, and still carry the scars from it every day.
Annie B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Annie B VINE VOICE on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Next to Love is a deeply moving novel of war, love and friendship. More than that, it's the story of just how war, in this book's case WWII, leaves its mark not only on the soldiers and their families, but on society.

Since the book descripton summarizes this book so well (unlike many of them), I'll just add that the book is beautifully written and the characters are believable. Babe, Grace and Millie have been friends since they were young children, but they are very different women and experience the war and its aftermath very differently. I feel this gives the book a broader prospective on war experiences than some others I've read. It made me think of relatives who served in WWII and their spouses and I realized that their experiences were very similiar. I know that like the characters in this book for them the war never really ended--they carried, and still carry the scars from it every day. I also realized that as children of a WWII veteran, just how much the war impacted our family and choices that were made, or not made. Clearly, like the characters in this book, the war was always a shadow hovering over us.

Next to Love doesn't only deal with love and war, but also American society before and after WWII. It clearly shows the class and race struggles. I have to say that this made me view the race struggles much differently than I had previously. It is now so obvious to me that the Civil Rights Movement had to occur after WWII, as did the Women's Movement. Both were inevitable after WWII had shaken everything up so much that conventions basically flew out of the window. How could anyone really believe that things could just go back to how they were before. I loved how the author wove these things into the story, enriching the book even more.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Today we share all of our feelings about everything with everyone. We feel compelled to voice our problems to anyone who will listen. We have television programs where each and every unsavory aspect of someone's life is placed on display for the world to see and savor. NEXT TO LOVE takes the reader back to a time when certain areas of ones life were not shared, not even between best friends, and each person quietly coped in their own private way.

Unlike many of the WWII novels currently making their way onto the shelves at the local libraries and bookstores, NEXT TO LOVE is a uniquely American saga that takes place over approximately twenty-five years and follows the lives of three women living in a small town trying to come to grips with war's effects on their lives and the lives of their children. Grace, Millie and Babe are the women in question and their ever evolving relationships are the basis of this novel. There are no big dramatic, bloody war scenes or stories of men in battle. Instead, Ellen Feldman paints a vivid picture of what was happening on the home front and how the women left behind coped with everyday life. She shows us a time when the acronym PTSD did not exist but its effects were evident in the behavior of many of the returning soldiers.

The story moves from 1941 to 1964 and examines the profound and dramatic changes in the world and in the lives of these women. We see the evolution of the United States as it deals with the uncertain realities of racism, sexism, bigotry and the prospect of yet another war. The only aspect of this book that I found mildly annoying was the author's inclination to jump back and forth in time.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Colleen T. on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It feels right that I finished this book on the 4th of July. This holiday always seemed to illicit strong feelings in Americans: it is because of the brave men that have fought for this country that we are free and able to do what we please. But what of the aftermath of war for these men, and their families left at home?

Grace, Millie and Babe have been friends since grade school and all three are sending their loves off to "fight the good fight" in WWII. Grace marries her beloved Charlie and lives under the thumb of her rich and powerful father-in-law. Millie marries the firecracker of a young man, Pete, but Millie's sweet and charming nature seems to settle him. Babe follows Claude to a training camp when he sends her word that he cannot go off to war without marrying her, the love of his life. On the way to meet him a horrible incident occurs, but she does not tell Claude and they are happily married before he leaves for France.

The women are left behind to pine, worry and, as in the case of Babe, work the jobs the men are now not there to do. They receive and send off love letters and continue their married life via paper and pen. Babe is working in the Western Union office when the death announcements begin coming in. In the course of one afternoon two of these women will get the word that they are widows. The other, mournful but ecstatic, has no idea what is coming back to her when the war is over. The man she married does not come back, but an angry, frightened, deformed ghost takes his place.

This woman must learn to live with the shattered man the war has returned to her, and make the best of a life she no longer knows if she wants. One widow moves on too quickly to try to run from the grief.
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