A friend recently told me to read one of their favourite books. I was looking for a new read and decided that I, even though I am not much of a fan of war stories, I would finally let myself be swayed and give the book and the topic a chance from their recommendation.
I read All Quiet On The Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque recently. It was rather renovating and is the beginning of a change in my perspective I am glad to note.
I loved the writing it was vague and descriptive yet soft but heart wrenching. The kind, I think, that could probably only be found in a war story. I’ve always loved finding writing that is somewhat poetic, and sounds like someone stitched all the letters and words together carefully, with an unwavering hand – I really love finding that, among the world of literature – and that I found. The kind of writing that makes you double back and think, the kind that really makes you realise how deep things are.
The characters are a breath of fresh air, and they’re all so human in situation where you are glad to find it so. They all still joke and laugh against all of the odds. They were all friends in the most unfortunate of situations, and could smile after being dragged through the worst anyone could imagine. And you even see the other side of the coin – the gut wrenching fear, the depression, the melancholy. You worry for them, you hope someone survives.
The whole story is written in the perspective from one German soldier, Paul Bäumer, and his story stirs around with his classmates that were forced to enlist with him because of a pushy teacher. The lot of them go through Hell on Earth, but still manage to have, somehow, good things happen to them. There are six characters we focus on mainly, Kemmerich (we don’t focus on him for very long as he died early on), Haie, Albert, Müller, Kat, Paul Bäumer, and Tjaden. They all have their own tragic fates, just as you were beginning to believe that they would make it and we would hear of their lives afterwards. Each death or goodbye is heartbreaking and alarmingly real, and comes as an abrupt shock, though it really shouldn’t when you really think about it. They are all they’re own people, and the change from someone in school to fighting for Germany is astonishing, since you can see how they change, how they become more hardened and more serious, and more sad, more gloomy. You go through all their trials and tribulations with them, feeling the fear and the happiness and the sorrow.
While this was not my first war story experience, this is the one I enjoyed the most. Even while it was melancholic and nerve wracking, it was a story I’m glad to have experienced, and will heartily thank my friend for telling me about it. It really was a wonderful read.