Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: The Girl In the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

The Girl In the Blue Beret
Author: Bobbie Ann Mason
Published: June 28, 2011
Genre: historical fiction
Hardcover: 368 pages
Source: borrowed from library

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from When Marshall Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—the girl in the blue beret. At twenty-three, Marshall Stone was a U.S. flyboy stationed in England. Headstrong and cocksure, he had nine exhilarating bombing raids under his belt when enemy fighters forced his B-17 to crash-land in a Belgian field near the border of France. The memories of what happened next—the frantic moments right after the fiery crash, the guilt of leaving his wounded crewmates and fleeing into the woods to escape German troops, the terror of being alone in a foreign country—all come rushing back when Marshall sets foot on that Belgian field again. Marshall was saved only by the kindness of ordinary citizens who, as part of the Resistance, moved downed Allied airmen through clandestine, often outrageous routes (over the Pyrenees to Spain) to get them back to their bases in England. Even though Marshall shared a close bond with several of the Resistance members who risked their lives for him, after the war he did not look back. But now he wants to find them again—to thank them and renew their ties. Most of all, Marshall wants to find the courageous woman who guided him through Paris. She was a mere teenager at the time, one link in the underground line to freedom. Marshall’s search becomes a wrenching odyssey of discovery that threatens to break his heart—and also sets him on a new course for the rest of his life. In his journey, he finds astonishing revelations about the people he knew during the war—none more electrifying and inspiring than the story of the girl in the blue beret.

My Thoughts: I typically read WWII books from female points of view, so this one caught my eye when I saw that it was narrated by Marshall Stone, a pilot during the war. He decided to return to the place where his plane was shot down and try to find the families that housed him and helped get him back to the US. Unfortunately, I just couldn't connect with this book. I found the storyline interesting, but Mason's writing didn't pull me into the story. Marshall is the main character, but he wasn't likeable in anyway. He talks about how he cheated on his wife while he was still alive, which really made me dislike him. I felt that there was a distance between Marshall and the reader. It was interesting to read about his experience, from being shot down to hiding in French barns, to hiking across the Pyrenees to escape the Nazis. I don't think that I will be reading any more of Mason's work based on her writing style.

1 comment:

  1. It makes me so sad to see that you didn't like this one and that you don't think you will pick up anymore of Mason's works. I took a Southern Lit class in undergrad, and I remember LOVING her short stories. In fact, I wrote my final paper about one.

    I've never read any of her novels, but it seems like the magic didn't translate to a longer work. Or it didn't translate to a male-centric historical work. If you ever do venture into her works again, try her southern stuff.