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Carpe LibrumAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Glimpse into Soldiers' LivesOctober 2, 2013Carpe LibrumAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 3Value: 3Meets Expectations: 4'The Journal' by Beth Harlow is a little book that packs a big punch. In the form of a diary taken into the American Civil War by a Confederate soldier, this novel gives the reader glimpses of the lives of the men whose hands it goes through. This is a poignant format that leaves some mystery regarding what happened to each of the writers after the journal leaves their possession. This can be frustrating to a reader who has begun to sympathize with and care about the character in the brief time they are featured, but it adds to the authenticity of this journal format.
As the journal is passed from soldier to soldier through death, loss, capture, or theft, the reader enters the world of both Confederate and Northern soldiers. The reader and each man who becomes an owner of the journal realize that men on both sides of this bloody conflict have much in common. They have families they wish to get home to, sweethearts waiting for them, and thoughts about what will happen if they die. Each man who writes in the journal shares his thoughts on faith with the knowledge that they could meet their death at any moment. Though the book covers the entire time period of the war, it is by no means a thorough history since each man tells his story as he experiences it. Some battles are up close and personal, others just something he heard about after the fact.
This was a very touching book, and my biggest complaint was that it was not fleshed out a little more. It is only 62 pages long and I felt like it could have been made into something even better. The only other negative that I noted was that the writing voice did not change much with each new character. We had to be told that the diary had changed hands, but I felt like it should have been more obvious by the change in the writers' styles and personalities. Breaking this up into chapters would have made it easier to flip back and remember who was who.
Overall, this was a very worthwhile, quick read and is appropriate for readers of any age.
I received this book from Crosslink Publishing through BookCrash for review purposes. Opinions expressed are my own.
Jen PenMidwest4 Stars Out Of 5Interesting premise...August 6, 2013Jen PenMidwestQuality: 4Meets Expectations: 3SUMMARY:
The journal is just that_a journal that starts in 1861 as Mary's fiance heads off to war. The little notebook is written in throughout the next 4 years spanning several of the battles within the Civil War. The memoir changes possession many times - even crossing rivalry lines. The soldiers share their thoughts, feelings, facts and personal situations about life, the battles and God as the journal continues to progress between hands.
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The actual book even reminded me of a journal_it was thinner in size and only contained 62 pages. The set-up of the book appeared as if a real journal organized by dates with entries following. Though the visual assembly was inviting and the premise was very intriguing, I found myself drifting as I continued to browse the dated accounts. I found the transitions of the journal writers to be a bit confusing as I it took a bit to grasp the style. Although difficult to follow, I discovered and appreciated the relationships (friend and/ or foe) between the contributors. Short and long musings about the battles and faith helped the book to move albeit some of the longer entries seemed a bit unrealistic and uncohesive.
3.5 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of The Journal from BookCrash and CrossLink Publishing for my honest review*
Bethany4 Stars Out Of 5Interesting perspective, enjoyable bookJuly 26, 2013BethanyI have finished reading The Journal by Beth Harlow.
A young woman gives a journal to her fiance in 1861 before he leaves for war. The book ends up getting passed around to many men, back and forth between both sides of the line. As it gets passed around, the new writer reads the previous entries. It is based on real battles, but the other characters are fictional.
I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book, but I really did. It was very interesting to me to read the thoughts and feelings of these young men in the Civil War. It gave me a new perspective to see how those young soldiers felt as they were in the middle of the battle and missing home. Also they all had different views of God and had different relationships with God. I liked the way the author set up this book to be written from so many different soldiers at different places in their lives and how they could learn from each other when they reread the previous entries. Each character's writing is dated and divided by a swirly line. It was easy enough to follow but it might have been easier if the writers could have signed their entries.
This was a quick read, and I recommend that you check it out yourself.
Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy to me for my review through the Bookcrash review program.
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