Sunday, March 8, 2009

Love and Sand by Howard M. Layton

Full title: Love and Sand: An RAF Flyer's Memoir of Love, Lies, and Mayhem in the World War II Deserts of North Africa

Copyright: 2008

Publisher: Three Spires Publishing

Genre: Non-Fiction

Pages: 312

Challenges: War Through the Generations

New-to-me author? Yes

Author's website

Simple Description

Howard Layton was a member of the RAF (Royal Air Force) during WWII. He was stationed in North Africa the whole time. This story is about his time in North Africa while serving for the RAF as well as his trials of love lost and found during that time.

In the end there is also a kind of recap telling what he is up to now and also a bit about some of the people mentioned in this memoir.

Why did I read this book?

I thought this would be a good fit for the War Through the Generations challenge. I also had never read anything about what went on in North Africa during WWII, so welecomed learning about that.

What I liked most:

Normally everything you learn and hear about is what is going on in Europe, so I thought it was interesting to learn a bit about what was happening in North Africa.

Was there something I didn't like?

Well, from my short "simple description" you can probably guess that I wasn't jumping up for joy after reading this book. There was not a lot of detail about what actually as far as fighting the war goes. The majority of the book is details about what Layton did while off-duty and about his first true love and a couple of loves after that. I wanted more information about fighting or duties. In fact, the author didn't see much fighting (which is what I could gather – and is great for him!) so there just wasn't too much to really talk about. He does talk about a couple of fighting missions. He only goes into great detail with one of them.

There was also one part where he is in the ocean and can't swim back to shore. He feels he is going to die and starts thinking about his first true love, Verna. Ok, I get that, I think most of us would. However he goes on to describe sexual feelings and acts at this point. I don't know, I guess that is what happened at the time, but I thought it was out of place in this book.

Also, he tended to put direct dialogue in this book. As in, when talking about things that happened, he put quotations around what people said. This gave the impression that it was exactly what each person said. Unless he has a photographic memory or wrote down each conversation, that's just not possible. This bothered me throughout the book because the whole time I'm thinking "There is no way you remember the exact words used in this conversation!". I admit that I haven't read too many memoirs. I also admit that I haven't read any regarding a war, unless you count A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah. However, I don't remember any of the other memoirs being written like this.

Do I recommend the book?

I don't know, a lot bothered me about the book, yet it was an interesting take on a WWII novel. I think I'll let you make the decision in if this would interest you or not. I went online and did a search for other reviews of this book and only found one, but the person did enjoy the book, so check out the link below for another opinion.


Other reviews of this book:

Puss Reboots


Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris


bermudaonion said...

Thanks for your review - I think I'll skip this one.

Literary Feline said...

I read a really interesting fiction novel last year set mostly in North Africa during World War II called Killing Rommel. The author based a lot of the book on actual events, even though he did take liberties. I recommend it if you are interested in reading more about the actual fighting in North Africa.

Love and Sand does sound interesting.

Bookfool said...

That's pretty common, I think, quoting as if one remembers the exact words -- but most authors will add a disclaimer saying their memories aren't perfect and/or that they've fictionalized a few of the real-life characters. You get used to it if you read a lot of memoirs and there comes a point that you just accept that things aren't 100% accurate but the point is to tell you the story of their experience.

Audie Murphy's WWII memoir, TO HELL AND BACK, is one of my favorites, even though it's heavy on dialogue (which you know he didn't memorize, unless he had a photographic memory) and I'm pretty sure the names of his soldier buddies were all changed.

Ladytink_534 said...

Huh, I don't think I've read about North Africa's involvement in the war before. Sounds like an interesting story but I'd bet it would be better as fiction with a few embellishments :)

Serena said...

A link to this review will post on the War blog later today!