Monday, July 23, 2012

Code Name Verity: Anger, Awe, & a Lack of Tears

Time for another book review. Unlike my review of Amanda Hocking's Trylle trilogy, this one shall be spoiler free. Let's start with a quick blurb about the book. Here's what is says about it on Amazon:

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy? 

Okay. So I bought Code Name Verity for a couple of reasons. One, I love stories set during WWII. This has always been a particularly interesting period in history for me, so I was already sold on the idea. And two, because people kept going on and on and on and frickin on (on Twitter) about how it made them cry and cry and cry. I love books and movies that get me so emotionally involved that I cry (tears of joy or sadness are both welcome), so I was sold. 

The title of this blog post may lead you to believe that I didn't like this book. For the love of all things good and shiny, please do not think that! It was wonderful. Absolutely out of this world, awe-inspiringly wonderful. From the very first page, I was so involved in this story that I couldn't put it down. Literally. It's been a while since I had the stamina to read a book in one sitting. But there I was at 4 o'clock on Saturday morning, turning to the last page with exhausted, tearless eyes. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone who has even a passing interest in WWII. The writing was absolutely stellar. I felt so very connected to these characters. Like I was right there with them. It was beautiful. It was heartbreaking. I loved every god damn word.

I wanted so much to cry during this book. It makes me feel like I must not have a scrap of humanity in me that I didn't. Especially since I'm a big crybaby. Seriously, everything makes me cry. My husband sometimes thinks I'm a crazy person (it's just fiction...why am I getting so upset?). I cry when people die. I cry when people almost die. I cry when something in a movie or book might possibly be something resembling sad or bad or unfair. And it's not just sad/bad/unfair things. I cry when I'm really happy, too. I cry at the end of chick flicks when the guy and the girl finally get together. I cry when someone's lifelong dream comes true.

And it's not just books and movies. I cry in real life when things are emotionally charged. When something horrible happens in the world, even though it technically has absolutely nothing to do with me, I cry myself sick. Without fail. And when something wonderful happens, I turn into a blubbering idiot. Like my wedding, for example. I knew myself well enough to know that I might just be so happy during the ceremony that I wouldn't be able to keep it together. So my something blue was an embroidered handkerchief (my new initials and the date in a lovely, light blue) that I kept with me the whole time. And thank goodness I did. Here I am, before the ceremony, looking good and happy and in control of my crazy self:

See how I'm not crying? I was actually quite proud of myself. I've shown you this picture first so you won't think I looked horrible on my wedding day.  ;)  I managed to be perfectly normal until it came time to start walking down the aisle. Even then, I held it together. I held the tears in. I didn't want to spend my wedding ceremony crying. But I guess it was pretty obvious, because as soon as I got up to the front and my husband took my hand, he whispered, "Don't cry." And he continued to mouth those two words throughout the ceremony. So I must have been hanging by a pretty tenuous thread. And when our Justice of the Peace said, "By the power invested in me by the state of New Hampshire, I now..." that thread snapped. That's as far as I made it. And then I was sobbing:

Not the most attractive I've ever looked. Hence putting the pretty picture first! See how my beloved husband, the maid of honor, and the Justice of the Peace are all laughing at me? Yeah, everyone else was, too. You just can't see them.

My point in all of this? Everything makes me cry. And it pisses me off that Code Name Verity didn't. Because it deserved ALL THE TEARS. But I had been hearing for weeks about how I would sob myself silly. So when it came to "that part," I had nothing in me. I was expecting it. I knew I was supposed to cry, and I've never been very good at doing what I'm "supposed" to do. I think my subconscious is just too damn stubborn. So in a way, I feel cheated by all of the hype. It robbed me of my tears (hence the anger). But I don't regret reading the book, even despite that. Because it was just that amazing.


  1. Ha! I came over to read because my library STILL hasn't gotten the book, even though the librarian said she was going to buy and I'm practically on freaking speed-dial there. So I broke down and came to read your post. Too. Funny.

  2. Are you laughing at the fact that I couldn't cry even though I wanted to? Or at that horrible picture from the end of my wedding ceremony? ;)

    Also, I can lend you the book. Oddly enough, I bought the hardcover instead of the Nook Book. Very out of character for me.

  3. I was laughing at how angry you are that you didn't cry. I'm completely the opposite. Hate crying. Not because I'm embarrassed or anything, but because it gives me massive headaches. I'm the only person I know who doesn't feel better after a "good cry." You, of course, look gorgeous whether you're crying or not.