- ISBN-10: 0679643699
- ISBN-13: 978-0679643692
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
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Next to Love
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Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Babe Huggins grew up on the wrong side of a small town, about ninety miles from Boston. The nation has gone to war and women (including Babe's friends Grace and Millie) are marrying and getting pregnant by men who will soon return to battle. Babe is not married to Claude when she discovers the longstanding relationship between sex and war but she loves him and lives in fear of his death. Babe is an independent, unconventional thinker but she worries about how other women regard her. Knowing them to be hypocrites, she nonetheless judges herself by their standards and (rather unfairly) finds herself wanting. Her story --as it develops over the course of many years -- is one of pain that induces growth.
Millie and Grace have their own stories, yet as important as they are to the novel, the book belongs to Babe. Millie and Grace focus their lives on being good wives and mothers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed Next to Love: the historical accuracy of Feldman's depiction of WWII and the following years, the complexity of the characters and the events in their lives, the... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Ames Sheldon
Got a little boring. I finished it but did not leave me warm and fuzzy...just ended.Published 4 months ago by Jane Ann Parker
I really liked this book taking place during and after WWII. I really liked the characters and the whole storyline. Read morePublished 11 months ago by joyce c
Interesting read so far....I am about 55% through it. Really makes one realize what emotions and feelings happen for those that go to war and those left at home...... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Beaver Believer
Ellen Feldman's Next to Love was a recommended read. Heather, the voice behind The Maiden's Court, suggested it at the Historical Novel Society Conference in Denver and I tracked... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Erin Davies
I enjoyed the book. It was written very well. However I did not like the ending. In fact I thought I turned too many pages as it just ends.Published 15 months ago by Jeanette Zinck
Next to Love by Ellen Feldman is a story about three young women, close friends, who marry as WWII is beginning. Read morePublished 15 months ago by RE Krause
Very good story but I found it melancholy. Very good story about what young women went through here during WWII.Published 16 months ago by Linda K.