Verdict: From racism to war criminals to government corruption, no subject goes untouched. Love and War is a worthy choice for anyone who understands how loving someone can be both a miraculous and painful choice.
Two young people from wildly different backgrounds meet by chance while traveling along a desolate Arizona highway in the year 1970. The first is a young woman named Molly, a college dropout and political activist who fought against the actions of President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam occupation. The second is Jack Masterson, a 24-year-old Vietnam vet who was injured in combat and sent back home. Both are running away from lives they feel they have outgrown, and find a surprising solace in one another.
Linda Hanley Finigan’s book reads like a hybrid of Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried, and director Julie Taymor’s visual extravaganza Across the Universe. Gripping and heartfelt, she uses pivotal moments in the protagonists’ pasts to illuminate how they became the people they are when they finally meet. Molly’s traditional upper-middle class upbringing is threatened when mysterious circumstances surround her mother’s death, and Jack struggles with his PTSD when he arrives home and tries to fulfill his duties as a father and husband.
From racism to war criminals to government corruption, no subject goes untouched, and Finigan’s light touch saves the book from becoming simply yet another book about the 1960s. The end isn’t as satisfying as the events that precede it, but Love and War is a worthy choice for anyone who understands how loving someone can be both a miraculous and painful choice.
Reviewed by Francesca Federico for IndieReader