I began to read to read the book ‘Boys of Blood and Bone’ and found it quite hard to show any interest in this book or understand it as David uses a technique of writing called ‘parallel writing’ which makes the stories hard to understand if the reader is unfamiliar with this style. The author, David Metzenthen, describes Henry Lyon as a teenager from the city on his way to a wind surfing holiday with his mates up at the South Coast of New South Wales before starting his Law degree in a few months. His life becomes woven into many complications but he faces each problem with a bit of a cool, laid back approach. He has to face relationship problems with his girlfriend Marcel and his car breaking down near a little town called Strattford where he learns about local soldier named Andy Lansell who passed away in the First World War. He also meets up with Trot and Janine who later become significant characters in the book. Andy’s character doesn’t seem that troubled about terrors of war, he seems to be more concentrated on his life back at the farm and with Frances – Jane.
Metzenthen uses the language to help build up the mateship between Henry and his friends. Henry uses a very slang and informal tone when he speaks to his mates whilst he is more sensible when talking to Marcel. – Marcus “A big lows coming. Nine eighty-five”. Henry and his mates understood every single word that Marcus has just said, where as if he said that to Marcel she would be completely clueless on what he is saying. Metzenthen has made the theme of mateship stronger than the any character’s relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend. I think he has purposely done this to give more meaning Australian idiom that represents loyalty, equality and friendship.
Metzenthen has placed a lot more focus on Janine by making her the great granddaughter of Andy. I feel he does this so that she does not feel like another one of Henry’s girlfriends, such as Marcel, who doesn’t play much of a significant role in Henry’s life. Metzenthen has also placed more attention on Cecelia but in Andy’s life to possibly exaggerate Andy’s feelings toward his beloved, missed town of Strattford. This change to Henry’s story has left me asking myself questions about what is to come next in Henry’s life. ‘Will Henry and Janine eventually get together?’ is the main question I have been left asking myself. I would love to see Henry and Janine get together as Metzenthen has really built up a sort of loving tension or spark between the two. I would also like to see Cecelia play a bigger part in Andy’s life as she begins to move away from Cecelia and focus more on Frances-Jane and his child as I read further into the novel.
Metzenthen has perfectly recreated all of the graphic images of the horrific and tragic events that occurred in WW1 again in my head. He gives you just enough information to understand the constant devastation and fear the soldiers are experiencing but does not completely change the theme of the book into horror. He also does well in establishing a connection between Henry and Andy even though they have never met and lived under substantially different circumstances. Even under these circumstances Henry and Andy face similar problems and tackle them with similar attitudes. Henry shows great courage and determination towards wind surfing. He takes on those giant waves head on and does not lose hope even when his friends doubt him. Andy conjures up the same astonishing courage whilst he is at war. Even he has seen horrific things and is faced with relationship problems and a child he will never get to see, he does not let that give him a reason to simply give up.
The Book ‘Boys of Blood and Bone’, By David Metzenthen, failed to grab my interest. The lack of tension, drama or action in Andy’s story it really began to bore me up until the point where he first gets to the battlefield where it began to get more like what I would expect from a WWI novel. Although the first part of his story was boring I began to pick up interest as Andy joins the war. The rest of Andy’s story was amazing even up until his death. Henry’s story was great though as it had something happening almost all the time, whether it was problems he faced or challenges he conquered, it had always grabbed my interest. I would like to have seen more from Henry and Janine as they continue explore to the battle grounds in France where the WWI soldiers once fought. The ending to his story was a big of a disappointment as it only created more questions to ask myself.