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Once There Were Sad Songs Paperback – November 15, 2013
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For those of us “of a certain age,” revisiting the Vietnam era and its aftermath is less poignant than it is harshly, even painfully, familiar. Brotherton takes us to that time and immerses the reader in the complexity of the politics, the trauma to its warriors and the rugged road to redemption for its survivors from all walks of life. Similarly, the author shows us, in Liz, devastating damage done by virulent religion in the name of God. That Liz emancipates herself is in no small way the result of her unexpected love affair with Steven, he of the wounds and medals from the undeclared war.
Liz takes up with Steven and his two friends: Lefty is the soldier whose soul died over there but whose body fights on while Shadow was “too young to serve” yet carries the wounds of civilian life and survivor guilt. What transpires lifts the story from the mundane, just another war story, to a deep examination of what it is to survive madness and to thrive.
A lot of thought and research must have gone into this story. It entices a person to contemplate many things. I have been married over 45 years and thought I could say what makes a relationship work. This book challenged me to reconsider. A memorable read that I will probably revisit in the future.
Brilliantly told tale of love and anguish. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, complex love story with a few twists.