Sunday, 29 July 2012

Book Review of 'The Boy I Love' by Marion Husband.

This award winning debut novel by Marion Husband focuses upon Paul Harris, an officer recently returned from World War One. He's been treated for shell shock in a psychiatric hospital and returns to his lover, Adam  and they resume their relationship. Paul learns that the girlfriend of his recently deceased brother Robbie is pregnant and he decides to propose. Margot accepts. 

This is a story complicated by forbidden love and various relationships, at a time when homosexuality was very much taboo and illegal. The author portrays a realistic account of the post war period and of homosexuality in general. Flashback is used intermittently throughout, creating back story and adding to the detail. 

There are some graphic accounts of a homosexual nature which might not be acceptable to some, however these scenes are very short and do not dominate the story. Paul's life becomes very complex as he juggles his relationships, first between his new wife Margot and his old love Adam, and then his new love Patrick. There are also inferences made to an incident that happened between Paul and Jenkins, back in the trenches. Narrated in the third person with uncomplicated language and vivid imagery, the story is an insightful read, delving into the society of a long gone era. It illustrates social change, prejudices and the physical and psychological effects of the atrocities of war.

Husband has created a realistic world with believable characters; rounded characters whom you can visualize and hear perfectly. It's an intriguing and well crafted story and definitely one I'd recommend.