I can see the Paul of The Boy I love in Siegfried Sassoon, like probably I can see Adam in Robert Graves, and why not Patrick in Wilfred Owen (with a different ending); there is also Margot in Hester Gatty. Of course the inter-relationships are different, like different are their outcomes. And truth be told, I don’t like so much Paul, there is who sees courage in his decisions, but the only thing I can see is the broken hearts he is leaving behind. Already from the beginning, when he is describing the intense desire he has to be with Adam, and his desire is genuine, I can see that he is already detaching himself from his real life, to build a fake one. On this regard, Patrick is maybe less refined than Paul, but he is more sincere and open in his approaches.
It’s true that all these men, even Adam, were completely and tragically changed by the war, and it’s also true that many of them didn’t have a choice; it was probably easier for the Stephen Tennant of the time, people from aristocracy, being dubbed as “eccentric”, and living as they liked, but for the many Pauls, Adams and Patricks it was not so simple.
Just recently I argued with another reader on what makes a romance; the other opinion was that to be a romance you need to have an uplifting happily ever after; my opinion is that you need to have a love story, and the happily ever after is a bonus, but not a rule. So yes, I consider The Boy I Love a wonderful romance, maybe even comparable to the likes of Maurice, but unlike Maurice, it has not an happily ever after, at least not for Paul. I’m not sure if the author is planning something different for Adam and Patrick, maybe at the time she wrote this novel, she wanted for the reader to build their own finale. Now there are two more books in the series, so it will be interesting to see what is waiting for these men.
I wanted for this novel to have an happily ever after, even if I don’t like so much Paul (but more for the output of his decisions that for him as a character), I was enthralled by his story, as I was by Patrick and Adam (Adam is probably my favorite), but I knew it was not in the star; in a way, it could have been worst, in the end, Paul and Patrick are back from war (and many didn’t make it), Adam is still alive, but what life is without the total happiness of being able to basking to the sun of your love? It’s like living in a perennial shadow, it’s not bad, but not even perfection.
Amazon: The Boy I Love (The Boy I Love Trilogy)
Amazon Kindle: The Boy I Love (The Boy I Love Trilogy)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Accent Press Ltd; New edition edition (July 12, 2012)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
For your Reference:
Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967) was an English poet, author and soldier. His younger brother Hamo was killed in the Gallipoli Campaign. Rupert Brooke, whom Siegfried had briefly met, died on the way there. In France he met Robert Graves and they became close friends. At the end of a spell of convalescent leave, Sassoon declined to return to duty and he was to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh, where he was officially treated for neurasthenia. At Craiglockhart, Sassoon met Wilfred Owen. Both men returned to active service in France, but Owen was killed in 1918. In December 1933, to many people's surprise, he married Hester Gatty, who was many years his junior; this led to the birth of a child, something which he had long craved.
Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. Owen held Sassoon in an esteem not far from hero-worship, remarking to his mother that he was "not worthy to light [Sassoon's] pipe." In July 1918, Sassoon, who had been shot in the head in a so-called friendly fire incident, was put on sick-leave for the remaining duration of the war. Owen saw it as his patriotic duty to take Sassoon's place at the front, that the horrific realities of the war might continue to be told. Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918 during the crossing of the Sambre–Oise Canal.
Robert Graves (1895 – 1985) was an English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, and novelist. At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Graves enlisted almost immediately, taking a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The friendship between Graves and Sassoon is documented in Graves's letters and biographies, and the story is fictionalised in Pat Barker's novel Regeneration. The intensity of their early relationship is demonstrated in Graves's collection Fairies and Fusiliers (1917), which contains many poems celebrating their friendship. Through Sassoon, Graves became a friend of Wilfred Owen. Owen attended Graves's wedding to Nancy Nicholson in January 1918.
Stephen Tennant (1906 – 1987) was a British aristocrat known for his decadent lifestyle. During the 1920s and 1930s, Tennant had a sexual affair with the poet Siegfried Sassoon. His relationship with Sassoon lasted four years before Tennant off-handedly put an abrupt end to it. Sassoon was reportedly depressed afterwards for three months, until Sassoon married in 1933 and became a father in 1936.
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