Holy Land the Thematic Thread Book Review

Excerpt from Book Review :

Joseph made me hate Communists, then intolerance, and finally everything that could break the charmed pattern of our lives. I am not sure the Sisters of St. Joseph expected this from their daily lessons on the Red threat. The nuns' stories made me want to keep everything that I could. First, I would keep my faith. Much later, I would keep our regard for each other, and the ways which we revealed ourselves in these small houses.

The return from the very bloody and life changing WWII also peppers the reflections of the work, through both the ability of the community to embrace the Red scare with complete and utter servitude, build civic and amateur bomb shelters and honor those who returned with constancy. Many of the homes in Lakewood were purchased by young couples, the male partner being a returning veteran from WWII, as a result of the programs designed to help them recover and return to normalcy in a new improved America. "The sons of the veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War came of age together. I was one of them."

All the major themes of the day and the climate of an entire area are covered in this compelling account of the development of suburbia. As the narrator ages, and the development of Lakewood becomes more mature the nature of the narrative also changes, coming to terms with more modern ideals and standards of the day. One point well made is that the author is himself a city information officer, who having lived his entire life there has watched the community change from one of intolerance, unfounded fear, and socially acceptable injustice (in the same thread as the nation) to a community that must reflect the cultural diversity which now envelopes it, and the limitations of political correctness and social representation. The contradictions continue as the modern themes evolve, and as the man evolves through the work but there is only limited reflection on how these contradictions become enigmatic, as they were when Waldie recalls the humorous or at the very least ironic nature of contradiction as a child.

The whole of the work, even in its fragmented prose poetry style is a poignant example of a very creative reflection of a single man's life journey, as well as the life and hopes of a whole era, and then the evolving eras he has lived through. The work is an easy read that could explain a lot even to a young reader of today. Simple language fills the work, even when complicated concepts are being portrayed. As an adult man, living with his aged father, Waldie expresses the sentiment of the ages, and how the world changes, what the world would look like if the whole story were told, through the eyes of a single observer. He displays a legacy of living in the shadow of contradictions and arduous social planning and how these things affected him and his contemporaries. One of the most telling of statements in the work describes, in simple detail the legacy of the generation that preceded him;

My father brought the suitcase dwon from the attic after my mother's death emptied it, and burned the letters he sent her during the war. He kept the letters my mother sent him. He also kept the notebook he'd written in during his years as a member of a Catholic religious order. I kept his notebook. I have not read it." Waldie, develops in this single reference the idea of the old and new, as well as the legacy men wish to remain as they close their years, he has portrayed his own in the memoir and his father has stressed the good over the bad, by keeping but not exploring those which he does not desire to retain.

Bibliography

Waldie, D.J. Holy Land: a Suburban Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton. 1996.

D.J. Waldie Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir (New York: WW Norton, 1996) 73-74.

Ibid. 16, 33,…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Waldie, D.J. Holy Land: a Suburban Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton. 1996.

D.J. Waldie Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir (New York: WW Norton, 1996) 73-74.

Ibid. 16, 33, 85, 86, 87, 168.

Ibid. 108, 112, 113.

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