Once, there was a time when I would have struggled through this one, convinced that since it was a "classic", there must be some redeeming quality to it. I'd have struggled to the bitter end, hating it more and more, and I'd have been disappointed by it even if there was something worthwhile at the end. Because getting there was tedious, boring, painful, and annoying.
This book has a lot of very varied reviews and opinions. Lots of people loved it, lots of people hated it. I can see why. It's a book that some people will definitely like. Masculinity, heavy drinking, etc will naturally appeal to some more than others. The love story aspect will appeal to some that aren't so much into the other stuff, and the war stuff will do for still more, maybe. Usually, the war and the masculinity and stuff would be my thing - but this just didn't do anything for me.
I think that this was due to the writing, and the reading. I didn't like the reader at all. He had a kind of clipped reading style, and since the writing was full of short sentences, it made it hard for me to settle into the reading and listen. A good reader needs a quality that draws a listener in - but this one did just the opposite. I struggled on through about 3 discs and I just could not stand the reader enough to get into the story. And the story wasn't doing much to help. Staccato sentences, back and forth. Lots of pointless dialogue that, I suppose, in the end would have painted a full picture and come together, but I just found myself not caring at all.
And this featured my very least favorite writing trick ever: using dialogue to replace explaining action...
"Here drink this. No all of it. It will do you good!"
"I don't want it. Put it on the table."
"Here - you drink it all up! There's a good boy. You'll see. It'll do you good like I say. No, sit down. Listen to me now."
"Answer the door, I think it's unimportant person number 4 coming to tell us something unimportant. What's he saying?"
"Go sit back down, I'll tell you everything in a minute. Here, drink more of this. Good."
The romance aspects, what little I saw, were just as abrasive and annoying.
"Oh, I love you! Do you love me? Say you love me."
"Yes I love you."
"Oh, you're just saying that! It's the war. You don't mean it."
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't"
"Ok, sure. Because I love you, but you don't have to lie to me."
BLAH! Shut up. Who cares?! I just struggled along, in this three-against-one uphill battle... And they won. I raised my white flag and gave up. No mas, por favor.