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GONE TO SOLDIERS: A Fiction Novel about WWII ~ Marge Piercy

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I discovered Marge Piercy the writer in the early 1990s.  GONE TO SOLDIERS was published in 1987 and I had already read GOING DOWN FAST, SMALL CHANGES, WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME,  FLY AWAY HOME, and HE, SHE, IT. The women I was in a support group with in New York City were praising Piercy’s work and we were sharing copies.  I enjoy her writing very much and her outlook.

After posting the review for HE, SHE, IT, an email* came in asking me if I would like to read GONE TO SOLDIERS for review.   I said yes I would like to read it, forgetting that I had read it first 30 years ago.  I just was so happy to read more of Piercy’s words.   The Kindle told me that at my reading speed it would take 32 hours and 30 minutes to get to the end.   I dove right into each chapter and hardly came up for air.  I am not incredibly fond of books about war.  This one is quite exceptional.  It took 7 years to write and perfect before it was published and winning so many awards.  I was so happy to read it once again.

The book has an interesting shape as 10 characters and their stories are highlighted throughout the book. Some have 14 chapters to their stories.  We begin before the start of the war in France and before the USA became involved.  WWII is over and recovery is beginning at the end of the story.  The primary theme is about being Jewish and how the Jewish experience of the war overlaps and touches so many lives.  I was amazed at how badly the USA Jews were treated and particularly by the Marine corp.  Some American Generals had no trouble with killing Jews in Europe and participated in the process. Each character was well defined and the connecting characters gave continuity to the story and kept the thread of the themes moving forward.

Extraordinary writing. So revealing about the hate we are seeing displayed even now in the USA, so much fear, and how working from that fear keeps us holding on and not moving forward.

Whenever the control is too great, there are scapegoats and then they are vilified and verbally derogated.  It was important for me to read this novel once again. I feel it with mature eyes.  There is more and more to the story; I become a witness.

I not only humbly give this book top stars and I feel as though it should be required reading in our schools today.   I highly recommend this story.

“Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women, and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It and most recently Sex Wars; ; 19 volumes of poetry including The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, The Crooked Inheritance and in spring 2015, Made in Detroit; and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes.“ (Header at website)

Marge Piercy’s Website and Bio

*Kindle book was sent by Greta Shull, Marketing Coordinator, Open Road Integrated Media, 180 Maiden Lane, suite 8A  New York, NY 10038

He, She, It
When Women Were Birds
The Sowing

LIFE FROM SCRATCH: a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness ~Sasha Martin

Monday, March 9th, 2015

“I wonder if she’s right.  I wonder if, after Nick, the doorbell will continue to ring as we let in someone from Burkina Faso, then Burma, and so on, until the entire world is sitting around my dinner table.  An enormous global table.  No arguments. No food fights.  Just people there to share a meal.  What could I learn from them?  What could we learn from each other? “ (Page 286)

LIFE FROM SCRATCH is just the loveliest of books and I would expect nothing less from The National Geographic.  Food critic and Blogger Sasha Martin gives us the world in Food through 195 countries, 195 recipes in 195 weeks.  She attracts “foodies” from all over the globe and has wonderful conversations with her readers; it becomes a global conversation of interest and depth.

“Poignant and uplifting – not to mention delicious.  An amazing family tale.” ~A.J. Jacobs, author of THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY

Martin tells her life story and shares her relationship to food and her background.  How did this young woman develop such a joy in cooking and creation?  How did she end up living in so many counties and situations?  What is the tie that binds her life together and propels her into a life of her own creation?  What stirs her emotions and adds the sweetest touch to our lives?  And how on earth did she get her picky eater partner and baby to share in her experience over 4 years of exploration and writing?

The book is quite full of recipes and the story of how the blog post came together and how the family felt about eating that food.  195 countries and 195 recipes – many of which are contained in the chapters of the book.  We take a delicious nibble of the story and see the mother and daughter reunion taking place; a 3 generational study of mother-daughter relations all around us and how food is a universal language and a natural connector of all species.  The voice is heartfelt, emotional and a good chew.

National Geographic Books did not disappoint me and the story raised my spirits high.  Thank you to TLC Book Tours for including my words on this tour.  I have added this book to my book clubs list, and my birthday list, and I know a lot of foodies and teachers will enjoy knowing about LIFE FROM SCRATCH.

There are 650+ recipes you can try on for free at www.GlobalTableAdventure.com  and a Global Table Adventure Starter Kit for those wanting to experience a Global Table Adventure.  There are discussion guides available for Book Groups.

Facebook: Global Table Adventure
Twitter: @Global Table
Pinterest: Global Table
#Life from Scratch

From the cover flap:

“Sasha Martin is an award-winning writer and blogger who spent almost four years cooking her way around the world.  She graduated from Wesleyan University and was an M.F.K. Fisher scholar at the Culinary Institute of America.  Her work has been featured on NPR and CNNGo, as well as in Whole Living, Bon Appe’tit, Smithsonian, and The Huffington Post.  Her website, Global Table Adventure is a go-to hub for foodies around the world.”

Glimpsing Heaven
When Women Were Birds
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle