ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (THE BOOK): A REVIEW
Perhaps I am soft but it seems to me that there will never not be something poignantly beautiful about retellings and depictions. For starters, they satisfy our curiosity. They tell us all the things, factual or not, that we did not know we wanted to know about a topic that shaped humanity. They also serve to remind us of just how low humanity can sink and how high she can rise. I rarely go into retellings on a whim for simple reason that it tends to hit hard and leave one reeling. All Quiet On The Western Front written by Erich Maria Remarque was no exception.
It took a long time to organize my thoughts regarding this book. All I knew until that point was it was not a book I would recommend casually going into it. That, and that one should read the book before watching the movie to properly enjoy the movie. As some of us already know, All Quiet On The Western Front tells the story of World War I from the point of view of the soldiers who fought to hold the Western Front.
It shows how much of an impact war can have on life as you know it for the masses, how they are the ones who pay the highest price. It painfully elucidated how war slowly and imperceptibly wears away at you until you no longer recognize yourself. It was difficult to read primarily because it was real, heartbreakingly so.
The story begins with young boys eager to sign up to join the war, to bring glory to their families, cities and country at large. It quickly progressed to show them getting disillusioned by the reality of war, of life and death always being one step away and of saying goodbye forever one too many times. These men, young and old alike, left with little else to do in the heat of battle, bond with one another over the uniting fact that they, all for very different reasons, fight side by side.
As expected, it is one disaster after another after another for these boys and they find out even home does not feel right after the horrors they have had to face. However, it is as wholesome as it is heart wrenching because they also learn just how resilient the human spirit is. They squeeze every last drop of positivity they can find out of every situation and hold on to it for sanity. They learn to look on the brighter side, even when it is barely a fleck.
All Quiet On The Western Front hit all the right marks and earned a place of honour with all the other top-rier retellings. I definitely recommend this book.