Friday, July 29, 2016

'Til We Meet Again - Ray & Betty Whipps

'Til We Meet Again
Title: 'Til We Meet Again: A Memoir of Love and War
Author: Ray & Betty Whipps 
Publication Date:8/18/15
Pages: 288
Genre: Faith / Historical / Memoir /
Romance / Nonfiction
How I Found It: My dad sent it to me actually!
Date Completed: 6/6/16

Summary: Many couples met and married after only brief amounts of time together during the tumultuous days of WWII. This is the story of one such couple. 

What I Thought: This is the type of book I would have loved in my early teenage years. History, a dash of romance, a strong faith foundation for the story...all things I loved in my literature back in the day. I mean, I still really like those things, but these days it's not an exclusive list. Still, it's not surprising my dad randomly sent this to me via my Kindle account early this summer. He clearly remembers the reading tastes of that young girl well. This type of thing isn't often my speed nowadays, but I decided to give it a chance for the joy of both my father and my younger self.

I knew within a few of the short chapters that, while it was not going to be my new favorite book, Kevin was going to love it. My sweet husband is a big WWII buff (saying 'fan' would seem way too weird here). As of this writing, he's about halfway through and my prediction was spot on. Although, he is confused how I read the whole thing in an hour or two altogether. 

My take? Well, it's a neat book. The Whipps have a story not unique from that era. Young man heads to war, gets injured, meets beautiful nurse, proposes, more war ensues, and they end up reunited and living a long life together post-war. Of course, many couples were not happily reunited. Many others did not live happily-ever-after. And few had the strong bond of shared faith to unite them the way the Whipps did.
The book reminded me, too, how incredibly crazy an era the early twentieth century was. I mean, the Whipps get engaged after knowing each other as nurse and patient for a month. That's it! Some of their friends got married even faster. It was a really insane time, especially when you consider how many of those couple did, in fact, stay together for the long haul well after the chaos of war ended. 

It's a very easy read. The chapters are short and simple. It feels very much like you are sitting down with your grandfather and listening to him share his thoughts about his war experience. While I would have enjoyed writing a bit more sophisticated, Kevin loves that it feels so homey and friendly and like real conversation. It works for what it is, certainly; I'm just more conditioned to the classics these days, I suppose - for better or worse.

Ray writes most of it. In fact, despite the cited authorship and the descriptive blurbs about the book, Betty seems to have had very little to do with the actual writing. They included some letter she wrote at the time, but no modern words. This annoyed me; it felt like false advertising. Either write a book together about both of your stories and war experiences or sell it as what it was - a book by a WWII vet about his experiences during the fighting and how he found his bride in the midst of tragedy. That book would sell perfectly fine and I would have read it, too. 

I found the story very sweet and special for what it is. It was obviously a labor of love for this couple and I can appreciate that. We don't hear enough of these stories. We need more of our elders to step up and share their stories so they are not lost completely to the annuls of history. So, though the writing isn't eloquent and I would have preferred some more balance in how the story was told, I still value the story. So, thanks, Dad. 

Quote I Loved: "By then Betty and I had been married so long we could hear the other's voice inside us just as loud as our own."

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No, but I passed it off to Kevin and he's enjoying it
If You Liked This, Try: GI Brides / I Still Believe / Captive in Iran

A Reduced Review: It's like sitting down with your grandpa and listening to him talk about his experience during WWII and how he met your grandma along the way. 

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