I'm heading off to B&N today to pick up a copy of Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. The memoir is one of the ten books turned movies I'm most excited to see. The trailer, you'll have to admit, looks epic and seriously delicious.
I'm finding when I really want to delve into a book, especially if I want to share my thoughts with you, I want to get my hands on a hard copy so I can thumb through the pages, feel the heft in my hand and I just can't do that with my Nook, on which books are undeniably lower priced. There's something about seeing the book hanging about, being pulled in by the graphics, the colors of the cover, I miss that when I'm reading on a device. Thanks to my lovely sis-in-law I've got a chunk of cash on a gift card so I can do some guilt-free book buying.
"When war broke out in August 1914, 21-year-old Vera Brittain was planning on enrolling at Somerville College, Oxford. Her father told her she wouldn't be able to go: "In a few months' time we should probably all find ourselves in the Workhouse!" he opined. Brittain had hoped to escape the Northern provinces, but the war seemingly dashed her plans. "It is not, perhaps, so very surprising that the War at first seemed to me an infuriating personal interruption rather than a world-wide catastrophe."
Her father eventually relented, however, and she was allowed to attend. By the end of her first year, she had fallen in love with a young soldier and resolved to become active in the war effort by volunteering as a nurse--turning her back on what she called her "provincial young-ladyhood." Brittain suffered through 12-hour days by reminding herself that nothing she endured was worse than what her fiancé, Roland, experienced in the trenches. Roland was expected home on leave for Christmas 1915; on December 26, Brittain received news that he had been killed at the front. Ten months later Brittain herself was sent to Malta and then to France to serve in the hospitals nearer the front, where she witnessed firsthand the horrors of battle. When peace finally came, Brittain had also lost her brother Edward and two close friends. As she walked the streets of London on November 11, 1918--Armistice Day--she felt alone in the crowds:
For the first time I realised, with all that full realisation meant, how completely everything that had hitherto made up my life had vanished with Edward and Roland, with Victor and Geoffrey. The War was over; a new age was beginning; but the dead were dead and would never return.
First published in 1933, Testament of Youth established Brittain as one of the best-loved authors of her time. Her crisp, clear prose and searing honesty make this unsentimental memoir of a generation scarred by war a classic. --Sunny Delaney "
Alicia Vikander as Vera Brittain
Alicia Vikander, who broke out as Kitty opposite Domhnall Gleeson in Anna Karenina a couple of years back plays the role of Vera, opposite Kit Harington as her love, Roland Leighton, Taron Egerton as her brother, Emily Watson and Dominic West, her parents. Like Gleeson, who you can currently see in Unbroken (I thought it was okay, how about you?) the upcoming Brooklyn, Ex Machina and Star Wars, Vikander is having quite a year. In addition to a slew of other projects, the Swedish actress is in two of the other screen adaptations I'm most looking forward to seeing; the film made of Deborah Moggach's Tulip Fever, costarring Christoph Waltz and Dane DeHaan and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman, in which she stars with Michael Fassbender and Rachel Weisz. On the gossipy front, she and Fassbender are reportedly an item and were seen wandering Sydney arm in arm. Both movies are due out sometime in 2015, no official release dates have been announced yet.
Watch the trailer for Testament of Youth coming out January 16th in the UK; I'll let you know when they announce a release date for the US. I'm hoping it's after I finish Brittain's 700 page memoir. Fingers crossed.