Monday, 17 October 2011
This month most people finished the book, which is excellent news!
There was a great deal of divided opinion about the first section of Birdsong. Many of the group felt that the writing style was so different to the rest of the book it could have been written by an entirely different person to the rest of the book.
Everyone felt that the descriptions of the war and especially the mining sections were very vivid. Many people were extremely moved by these sections. It was all found to be very harrowing, we wondered how human beings were able to do what they did. We also thought about whether people today would be able to have the same attitude as those of the first world war.
The group was shocked at the lack of information being given to those people still at home. The letters they sent and the scenes when soldiers went home seemed to be from a different world. They talked of sending cake to the boys, when those boys were facing death and watching their friends die every day. A massive juxtaposition of worlds only a small channel of water apart.
As a glance into the history of the UK, this book works very well. It shows how much we as Britons have changed in our attitude towards our country and towards our fellow man. We seem to value our lives a great deal more as individuals, throughout the book the men were most often looked at as a group rather than individuals. We thought that this was probably true of the time, people died much easier in this time than today.
A lot of the coping mechanisms were very interesting, trying to forget those who had died, while also somehow thinking they were still part of your group. Also, the belief systems they created so ensure that they felt they were going to survive, the faux-voodoo, and betting games.
Overall this book really affected a great deal of the book club, we decided to give it 7 out of 10.