Saturday, November 4, 2017

Five Stars

I have this odd kick-up in an otherwise compliant personality that manifests in me refusing to read books when they're recommended to me. It's weird, I know, particularly for someone whose blogging bread-and-butter is all about being opinionated about literature. 

One of my critique partners, Afton, told me ages and ages ago that I would hate Code Name Verity. She said that I wasn't, under any circumstances, to read it--that she couldn't vouch for my sanity if I even so much as picked it up.

Afton knows me well.

And when I finally got around to it?

I loved it so much
I wanted to marry it.

The basic plot revolves around a female spy and a her best friend, a female pilot, during WWII. I won't tell you a thing more. I refuse. To give away spoilers would be like tattooing a mustache across a newborn baby. But I will tell you several spoiler-free things I loved about it:

  • It features female friendship. This was the book I was starving for and didn't know it. I love love stories. I will love them until I die. I make no apologies. I infer nothing about my character or intellect because this is so. My favorite thing is when my main characters run off and go make babies. But this book wasn't about that. It's about the sort of intense friendships women are capable of--the kind that turns our middle school free time into friendship-bracelet-manufacturing-cottage-industries and makes us promise to name our firstborn daughters "Sarah Dawn Pritika Kendra Suzanne" after our five best friends. 
  •  In the midst of terrifying war-time skull-duggery, no one is the square-jawed embodiment of perfect courage and perfect competence. No one is named Mary Sue. Characters fail and fall-apart and act like human beings--doing awesome things but not always behaving awesomely. 
  • It shows the things a woman was up against during this time but, again, it wasn't about that and is much more successful for it. It's a greater indictment of these incidents to have the lady character just getting on with her tasks rather than having her jaw drop at the misogyny. The jaw-dropping is more effective when we're the ones doing it on her behalf. 
  • It reminded me of our own Great Betty. Being Awesome was not invented at the same time as avocado toast and selfies. This meticulously researched story highlighted the amazing sacrifices of our fore-mothers.
    The Great Betty would have been all, "Child, please.
    Try putting up a victory roll when you're on the run from actual Nazis."
    I highly recommend the read. Keep plugging away if the beginning feels slow. It pays off!


  1. I am blessed with some amazing, amazing friends. I am going to have to find this one. Also, love the picture! Betty Britt

    1. I have some amazing friendships as well and I didn't really realize how little I have seen that massive cornerstone of my life represented on film or in books. This book was just stuffed with it and I adored that part of it.

  2. "A fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel."
    —The New York Times


    Sounds intriguing!

    I love it when you re-enact classic images or cover art. I recognized this one and finding the original was easy.
    But then, after a while, I remembered I had seen it, slightly modified, here on the blog. Finding that took a bit longer. It served as illustration for the review of An Innocent Bride.

    1. Fiendishly plotted is right! As soon as I finished the book, I wanted to go back and re-read it.