Reader reviews and comments on Next to Love, plus links to write your own review.

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Next to Love

by Ellen Feldman

Next to Love by Ellen Feldman
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 320 pages

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There are currently 42 reader reviews for Next to Love
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Molly

I'd like to read more by Feldman
Next to Love is well-written, which makes the potentially maudlin subjects presented here interesting and thought provoking.  With Feldman's clean, spare writing, the reader is allowed to think independently.  Her writing is varied and interesting, and she does not repeat or spoon feed, for which I was very grateful.  Babe, the main character, is the least babe-like woman in the book, and she suffers for her intelligence.  And in a different way, so do the women who blindly conform to expectations.  Feldman's portrayal of prejudice and its effects in the USA in the 1940s and 1950s, especially against women and Jews, is heart-breaking.  I applaud her choice to include a couple of really decent men.  I hope she is in the process of writing her next one.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)

For real--Next to Love
Another one-sitting book. Many writings have focused on the effects of war on the soldiers, but this is one that brings to the fore the battles of the women in the lives of those soldiers. I was taken by how true the characterizations were, without over sentimentality. It reads for real.
Luisa A. (Flemington, NJ)

Great Book!
Next to Love was an exceptional book. I was enthralled by the woman and how their lives unfold. The book allowed me to feel as though I was there watching like a fly on the wall. It took me to a time long ago but yet the issues they dealt with were similar to many we face today. This is a rare book that as you read you become to so emotionally involved with the characters that it is difficult to put down. As the book progressed I would find myself thinking of my own life and wondering how the choice made have affected my life. How many secrets, hurt and pain do we all hold on to? How do we help those that may be hurting without losing ones self? The book explores the relationship between woman and how they are linked. How they relate to one another, how they deal with the big and little issues throughout their lives. To sum up – this book is a great read and even more a book that allows you to look out to the lives of others and within your own.
Power Reviewer Wendy F. (Kalamazoo, MI)

Beautifully Written
Next to Love brings us into the minds and hearts of those affected by war. The setting happens to be WWII however it could be describing families from any war engagement. From the very first chapter when Babe is pulling the death notices off of the teletype machine, this book grabs your heart. We see not only how the lonely military wives deal with their time alone but also how their relationships change upon their loved ones return. We get to see how there is no “after the war” because the war continues in their memories. Thank you to Ellen Feldman for her keen insight and beautiful story.
Vy A. (MUNDS PARK, AZ)

Next to Lover
In an interview with author Ellen Feldman, she says she likes to write about monumental events of history but in human terms. She explores how individuals influence history but also how history shapes personal lives. In Next to Love she accomplishes this so beautifully, spanning two decades in America starting with WW II. Through three woman who send their men off to war. we see the impact the war has on a small community--not only during wartime, but for years to come. We follow their lives through the women's Some of the story is told through letters which show the anguish of separation and the longings and hopes of that generation. Just when you think you've read all there is to know about WWII comes another story that touches your heart and shows yet another perspective. The writing is eloquent. I highly recommend the book.
Darlene C. (Woodstock, il)

A Provocative Read
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. The author took care to develop the characters so they were 3 dimensional and believable. Told in a style similar to The Help, Ellen Feldman tells the story of 3 women whose husbands served in World War II. Following their lives before, during and after the war, the author weaves an intriguing tale of cultural expectations, personal growth and enduring friendship. No platitudes about war in this book or its effects on those at home as well as those who fought. I particularly enjoyed the author’s treatment of not only the main characters and how the war affected them but the greater challenge to the American way of life following the war. A great beach read but one that you will find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished the book. I would highly recommend this for book clubs - it will stimulate great discussion. I would love to hear book clubs discuss the ending – was it purposeful or did the author just not know how to end the book? Not an easy question to answer.
Debra P. (Belmont, NC)

OMG!!!!! What a wonderful book!
I loved, loved this book. It hit me personally because my dad served in WWII, both Europe and Phillipines and my mom was a "camp follower" before he was deployed and became pregnant with her first (my brother). When he returned he was a broken man in many ways and was never able to talk about it.. I believe this book helped me understand what he was going through and even though he is now deceased, I feel I know him better!
A great read and I will definitely read it again with my book group!!!!!!
Jen W. (Denver, CO)

A book that you won't want to leave
Next To Love is a terrifically engaging and provocative book. The characters are so well drawn that one can't but help to be engrossed in their lives. Ellen Feldman has a knack for creating vivid characters that stay with you, still speaking to you long after you close the book. Watch out, you might find yourself opening the book and needing to hunker down and read it straight through. Feldman gives us a portrait of war that is unique and original, but resonates with anyone who reads the novel. This is a book worthy of the best book club discussions and one that is worthy of rereading so that the nuances of her language can be uncovered.

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