Monday, July 7, 2014

Reading World War II in Fiction or NonFiction

For the pass couple of months I have become increasingly interested in World War II.  I have previewed both fiction and nonfiction selections and found that the fiction is what stays with me.  I know what you're thinking, Of course it does! 

Well, yes, of course it does.  Fiction authors have the great luxury to use imagination and facts to create a plot that is not only riveting, but also sustaining.  I say sustaining because after a few chapters of nonfiction books on World War II I am either deeply disturbed to the point that I must take a break or I am bored with the level of facts that are being presented.  

Facts, if presented in a precise manner, can be a catalyst to invoke emotional attachments to what and/or whom the facts are about.  But so many nonfiction books miss this element.  Facts are just placed on the table to examine in an attempt to understand but upon examination without emotional attachment it leaves me to say, "Why should I continue?" 

Being disturbed by such facts on a bombardment sort of level warrants a break that I don't often feel when its presented through fictional means.  By contrast fiction pushes me forward to see it through.  I must know that the villain is punished and banished and the survivors are vindicated and celebrated.  Yes, this is a must!

Which leads me to fiction.  
Based off of actual events that happened to her family, Alison Pick has written a book that is both powerful and uplifting.
Also based on actual events during WWII, 22 Britannia Rd invites readers into the lives and minds of survivors during the aftermath of WWII.  Truly insightful.
Fiction has the license to use facts in a way that emotions, whether positive or negative, are carried through the drone of facts so that the plot pulls us in and makes us react to the characters.  It allows the facts to be presented and a face to be attached to them.  This is why I gravitate to fiction more than any other genre.  Especially when it comes to real life events, such as World War II.

Now that is not to say I haven't read thought provoking, heart-wrenching nonfiction on the subject of World War II, I have.  But often times they are memoirs, which like fiction, provide a time and place of real faces and characters that lived through such trials. "Leap into Darkness" by Leo Bretholz is one such example.

Riveting, simply riveting.

Books like these send me on a search for nonfiction books that are saturated with facts, maps, tally sheets and the like.  "World War II: The Unseen Visual History" by The Caen Memorial is a great example.  The photos of war ravaged countries and the politics behind the war that this book covers is eye-opening.  Reading both fiction and nonfiction books propels the story, the event and solidifies it to my being in a way that reading just one or the other (fiction or nonfiction) by itself could never do.

As of this moment I am reading Jodi Picoult's "The Storyteller".  I am more than half way through it and I am consumed by its characters.  This book didn't get much praise by critics and if that has deterred you from picking it up, I hope my review (COMING SOON) will change your mind.

1 comment:

  1. I think the story tellers want to pay respect to all the heros so they mistakenly overwhelm you with facts. The intimate details of survival and brotherhood are usually told on the big screen ala Saving Private Ryan


Have something to say? I created this space just for you.