Rambling about books

Book review: Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain

Book cover

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Testament of Youth

Author: Vera Brittain

Synopsis on goodreads

Genre: Nonfiction, History, Memoir, Biography

What I think:

This was definitely a roller coaster ride for me, and I have never actually came to that conclusion when it comes to reading a biography/memoir; it’s hard to think that these events were anything but a real-life events, not because it seems like a fabricated truth, but because Vera Brittain wrote it in words that were weaved with love, pain, and struggle that you can’t help but feel those emotions streaming through the words. At times the story can feel like it’s moving in an alarming speed but then at times, Vera seems to stall something as if she herself feels like the longer she holds the climax, the lesser the pain it brings.

I think it was a good decision for me to read this book at 27, because everything that seems to be the struggle of Vera and her contemporaries were still relevant to this day, even though this was something that people went through years ago. Without trying to sound pretentious or obnoxious, there are more than one time that I actually feels like that whatever it is that Vera seems to go through in her life, I felt it too.

One thing that made this book seems hard to enjoyed in the beginning was the language and the structure of the sentences; as this book was written sometime ago, it was hard to grasp the nature of Vera’s voice when you are a millennial, but after a few chapters it became easier and next thing you know, you’re accustomed to it already. Other things that caught my attention was that it was hard for me to sympathise with Vera in the first part of the book, as she seems to value herself too high that at times it seems like she’s an arrogant woman; I remember thinking to myself that had this book was written and published today, she would have been labeled as a first world problem complainer. Thankfully, this changed as she met Roland; I don’t like to think that she changed merely because she met a man in his life, but Roland definitely had a huge impact on her in seeing the current life in the UK at the time.

What is so beautiful with this book, more than anything, was Vera and Edward’s relationship. How a sibling relationship grew stronger during the war and how badly it affects Vera as Edward part away with the world that Vera was left behind in. It was also thanks to Vera’s words that you felt like you knew all her contemporaries personally; how, along with Vera, I wished that Edward would have survived the war because you felt a close kinship with his persona throughout the book.

This would definitely be a good book for those who consider themselves as going through a quarter life crisis, or anyone who is going through a big major change in life. Imagine, one day you are about to embark to school only to have a war breaking out before your eyes and it seems like the war would never end and all it does is taking away all the raging fire of youths along with its destruction; surely it would put your life in a brighter perspective.

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