Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Mending the hearts of the wounded
How Can You Mend This Purple Heart? by T. L. Gould. Publisher: Night Publishing (UK) in paperback and kindle editions. Available at www.amazon.com.
How can you mend a purple heart? According to the men I've interviewed over the years, it isn't easy. My uncle Martin went to France in 1918 as a happy-go-lucky eighteen year old whom everyone loved and came home two years later emotionally shattered and alcoholic. No one ever knew what had happened to him over there except that he drove ammunition trucks to the front lines. He didn't say a word about his experiences until, at age 66 and no longer drinking, he told his sister (my mom). Two years later, his health ruined, he died, sober and a happier man than he'd been in fifty years.
The title of the novel is a good one because it describes so well the condition of men and women and women who return from combat having experienced things beyond their imagination, things that damage their hearts. My uncle's wounds shattered his heart.
Each of the young men in this story have terrible physical wounds. Their bravado and, in Earl's case their fear and doubt, reveal the deeper emotional wounds of the heart that are at least as shattering as the terrible physical wounds they have received and need mending.
How Can You Mend This Purple Heart is a worthy addition to the literature of war, soldiering, survival and recovery. I heartily recommend it.