Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
I’m going to start this post with a big ole disclaimer: I hope this is not offensive. That is not my intention.
I read War and Peace last year and it rocked my world. I have not been able to convince anyone to read it, not even Darcy, who just read Freedom, which references War and Peace on every other page. War and Peace is free on Kindle. And it is the best book I’ve ever read, with the exception of Pride and Prejudice. So maybe, you’ll consider reading it?
To perhaps better make my case: I’m not a book snob. The last book I read was The Hunger Games. 😉
One of the things I enjoyed about W & P (yes, we’re on an initial basis) is that it followed the doings among those on the battlefield, those on the home front and those whose home world collided with the battle field. It follows the famous and infamous and the nobodies. Because the book is a grand book about LIFE, it does cover pregnancy and loss. Because, this is something that has always existed.
The battle scenes are unforgettable and sear the mind. They are absurd, tragic and heroic and the after effects are chronicled. Some of the characters suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Tolstoy clearly knew about it before it was a word.
I was listening to NPR today, and they interviewed an Iraqi vet who suffers from PTSD. Did you know up to 15% of vets commit suicide? Battle technology has obviously improved since the war of 1812, but the aftermath on the individual who goes through battle doesn’t seem too different than what Tolstoy described.
He also details a loss that occurs during pregnancy and the unalterable events this loss sets into place. How devastating it is.
I don’t want to compare the warfare that soldiers face versus what many women have to deal with in regards to infertility and loss, because clearly it’s an apples and oranges situation. But, it’s just sad to note that both of these types of battle are still being fought 200 years after the events chronicled by Tolstoy.
One of the many things makes the book triumphant and worth reading is how one of the survivors alters the way they see the world. I don’t want to give anything away, but this character comes across someone who would be considered very zen these days. This person has a unique way of looking at the world. This character lives for the present and doesn’t dwell in the past, where tragedies happened or in the future, which looks very grim.
Again, this lesson is served up to me. Life is crappy and joyful, horrific and absurd, tumultuous and still. The only way to cope with the crazy ups and downs is to try to ground yourself in the now. And, oh, how difficult that is…