Sunday, April 7, 2013
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Ugh, I loved this book. There is no way I can properly explain the story and I don't want to spoil it for you anyway. Instead I'll talk about what it was like for me to read it and hope that maybe you'll go out and pick it up to read yourself. This is also a post about how I may have neglected my child in order to finish this book. This is why I should never start a book during naptime.
When I started the book I hadn't really worked out that I was in the mood for it. I had just finished another book that morning and was feeling more in the mood for some fluffy romance with rainbows and puppies in it. The only reason I started this one is because it comes so highly recommended and has a phenomenal overall scoring on Goodreads (where you can read the plot summary). Plus I knew there were people at the library waiting for the book and I wanted to get it back sooner rather than later.
About 50 pages in I'm glad I started it.
100 pages in and I am getting that antsy, squirrely, face-rubbing excitement I get when I know I've found a good book. Have I ever told you that I have a habit of rubbing my face when I get really excited about something? It must be a physical manifestation of the building emotion. Or something. Anyway, I've done it since childhood.
200 pages in and I've finished Part One. I stop and post on the book club website about how I want to tear through the remainder of the book to find the answers and yet I don't want the characters to go away. What I really mean is that I don't want any of the characters to die. Of course, this a book about war. It is often brutal, always raw, and sadly true in a million ways. We know in the very first chapter that she is an enemy spy and she will be executed.
The reason I came to pause at that one point is because I not only identified with these characters, I loved some of them and understood the rest. It's a miracle that I could look at the evil Nazi bastards (as they are often and rightfully described) and sometimes feel a moment of pity or at least understanding about parts of them.
I won't go into the details here for fear of spoiling things for you but I could have hours of discussions on the character of Von Linden, who he was before the war and who he would turn into during. Anyway, in the end it doesn't matter. What matters is that at one point I was so caught up in the war that the sound of the neighbors bringing in the trash can nearly made me jump out of my skin. That grating, rumbling sound in the quiet and dark was part of the war until I realized that I was sitting in a fluffy pink robe over polka dot pajamas in the comfort of my own home.
201 pages in and I'm squealing in delight. 258 pages in and I'm soaring on hope.
I have to wake Peanut from his nap or he'll ruin his bedtime and I've already let him sleep later than usual. I tell myself it's because he needed the sleep (which he did) but I suspect part of the reason is because I didn't want to put the book down. Once he wakes I settle him onto the bed next to me to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Forget developing brain cells, this kid should watch some TV! This will buy me some time.
285 pages in and I'm crying. I'm trying to be quiet because I don't want to alarm Peanut. It occurs to me how odd it is to hear the cartoon music in the background at the same moment that my mind and heart seems to be stuck in France. I'm filled with love and terror and admiration and I'm shattered and dumbstruck and raw.
Then I remember that I need to get groceries and vaguely realize that Peanut has watched 3 episodes in the time it takes for me to read and re-read these precious pages. I walk around Albertsons in a daze because the world seems wrong or maybe it just seems wrong that I'm walking around in it. We eat Rotisserie Chicken with Couscous and canned vegetables because I'm running behind schedule and I don't want bedtime to go too late because I must finish this book as soon as possible.
294 pages in and I've decided that this book is absolutely brilliant. I want to read the whole thing again cover to cover and I haven't even finished it yet.
332 pages and I reluctantly finish the last line. I am positive this will be one of my favorite picks of 2013. If I had read it last year it would have been my favorite for the year.
I can't fully describe how I feel at this point because it's all too soon, I've only just finished it tonight.
I do hope you read it and like it and come back to discuss it with me!
Kiss me, Hardy. Kiss me QUICK!