I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
10/9 - Barbed Wire and Roses was an interesting book, a well researched and decently written book, a good book. Not fantastic, not riveting, but engaging enough to make want to see it through to end, and I'm glad I did because I enjoyed it.
There were a couple of occasions where I Felt like Yeldham was proudly displaying his vocabulary by using uncommon words where more well known ones would have worked just fine. Near the beginning of the book, not too far in to Stephen's first section Yeldham used the word dissevered to describe what happened to the dead bodies in No Man's Land when bomb after bomb fell on them. I'm hardly an authority on language but I'm pretty well read and I hadn't heard that word before. I had to look it up because I wasn't sure that it was a word at all. The combination of 'dis' and 'sever' seemed to me like a double negative. It turns out that it is indeed a word that does indeed mean pretty much the same thing as sever, it just sounds more sophisticated as it's not widely used anymore. Once I had looked dissever up and realised that it was almost the same word as sever I felt a little like the author was trying to show off, arrogantly displaying his vocabulary and proving that he was intelligent because he could correctly use words that a lot of his readers wouldn't have heard of before. The whole episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Other than that the book was well written and edited, something I was very pleased to note when I got to the end of the book.
I guess I don't know what other Australians might know about Australia's involvement in WWI, I probably know quite a bit because of my family's connection to it, but I was surprised that Patrick was written with an ignorance about the part the ANZACs played in the battles for Villers Bretonneux and Pozieres and the way those towns continue to celebrate what the ANZAC soldiers did for them. This was set in 2000, which I remember (I was 15/16), but I don't remember that ANZAC day specifically, or what was on the news that night. I do remember that at least for the last few years the news or one of our current affair programs has sent a reporter over to Villers Bretonneux or Pozieres (or both) to show the streets named after places in Melbourne, the schools that sing Waltzing Matilda every morning, the signs that still proclaim "Thank God for the ANZACs" even 100 years later. So, considering that Patrick is Australian I figured he would have seen similar news reports to what I've been watching for many years now (maybe the news wasn't making as much of a fuss of it 15 years ago), so I was surprised when he was surprised by the fuss they make of the ANZACs and their continued love for the soldiers who fought for their towns all those years ago. After realising that Patrick was unaware of the reverence the ANZACs are held in, I was less surprised that he didn't know that the Australian government refused to allow a single Australian soldier to be executed for 'desertion', arguing that as every man who joined up did so voluntarily they couldn't be held to the same rules as the British conscripts (and others from the rest of the British dominion). So, while I knew that a firing squad at dawn couldn't be the climax of the story (this story is fictional but as the government's stance on the punishment for desertion is known and easily looked up if not already known, I was pretty sure that Yeldham wouldn't be so brazen as to include a detail that is so obviously historically inaccurate), I still found myself tense as the final fate of Stephen was slowly revealed (death by firing squad may not be historically accurate, but death by a number of other means was).
Despite enjoying the story (or maybe because of it) I won't be keeping this book. Now that I've read and reviewed it I'll send it off in a box to find a new home where hopefully someone else will get some enjoyment out of it.