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By Midge Lyndee
Book Review 

Great loves

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

 

February 15, 2020

February is a month when we turn to great loves, in our lives, in cinema, in novels, in history. What would you consider the greatest love story ever? Perhaps Romeo and Juliet? Cleopatra and Alexander? Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton? Enduring romances found in “Wuthering Heights” and “Dr. Zhivago?” I personally lean towards Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” There are so many heartstrings to pull.

Then you have novels like “The Thornbirds” by Colleen McCullough, of forbidden fruit, and “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks, who breaks our hearts early in the story and then once again at the end. And we mustn’t overlook the very strong attraction between Scarlett and Rhett from the epic “Gone With the Wind,” love which sprouted, bloomed and died during the Civil War.

Some stories that may not always be considered love stories, but are truly held up by their love, are such novels as “The Little Princess,” by Frances Hodgson, where a daughter is left to be cared for at a boarding school as the father goes off to war. Missing in action, the mean headmistress takes all the girl’s belongings and relegates her to the attic and introduces her into child labor. Yet, Sarah never accepts that her father is dead. She looks for him in the nearby military hospital, every minute spared from her labors. The reader’s heart beats and bleeds for Sarah as her love and desperation grows. And rejoices when love wins.

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott is also a love story, but this time of four sisters growing up with a father away at war. Facing growing poverty, their love for each other helps them through heart-wrenching challenges of first loves and death, as well as the normal and most always chaotic path of merely growing from child to adult.

My mind has woven from great old loves of the past, to the newer romances written within my lifetime. I wanted to find a newer love story that most likely will endure for years and perhaps centuries to come and I landed upon an unlikely candidate. The more I thought of it, the more I was convinced that this love would endure, its story so profound it will not be shuffled away to the motes of books no longer read. I give it my blessing.

I read the first book in “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins, before the movies were produced. The first and following books were different than most stories of this era. Very sharp edged, violent. And the fact that the leader of this nation, President Snow, was using children and their deaths as a measure to keep the people in line through fear was frightening.

The story begins with a reaping. Two children from each of the 12 communities are chosen by a random pick of names from a fish bowl. In District 12, Primrose’s name is pulled and her older sister, Katniss, speaks up to volunteer in her place. The boy chosen is Peeta Mellark. Katniss leaves her mother and sister in the protection of her childhood friend, Gale. And here is where a love triangle begins.

As the storyline advances in each book, where the dangers and the challenges grow in leaps and bounds amidst violence and the insidious interference of President Snow in their lives, the characters of Katniss, Peeta and Gale twist around each other in a rather macabre dance. There is the boy that protects her family, the boy who has her back and she protects in the games. At first her focus is anywhere but romance and always on survival.

Katniss finds that surviving with her heart intact is more insurmountable than surviving with her life. A true epic love story. May we learn to tend and grow our hearts, even during the most stressful of times and challenges, as the strength of love can truly conquer all.

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.

 
 

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