Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Good Night, Irene - Luis Alberto Urrea

Good Night, Irene is the latest book from Luis Alberto Urrea. Fans of WWII fiction will want to pick this one on your TBR list.

1943. Urrea introduces the reader to our protagonist, Irene Woodward, a young women who is determined to leave her abusive fiancée. She wants to get far way from her family and join the war effort. Dorothy Dunford is also running - from loneliness. She has no family left and has lost the farm. Joining the war effort seems like a good deal to her. Dot's story is on par with Irene's, but I found Dot to be the character I bonded with the most.

What do the women end up working at? Through the Red Cross, the two are with an elite group - the women who drive the Clubmobiles, bringing a smile, donuts and coffee to servicemen.

In the beginning as they learn the ropes, Irene and Dot are light hearted and enjoying themselves, even if they're tired 24/7. As they start to travel, they find themselves closer and closer to the danger of the front lines. What seemed like it would be a lark is no longer. The war will change both of their lives forever.

Urrea brings in a number of varied supporting characters, all with their own addition to the narrative. Throughout the book, the 'can do' attitude is shown over and over again. When you read this type of story, it makes you truly think about the sacrifices made. Urrea takes his own Mother's Red Cross service as inspiration for Good Night, Irene. 

Friendship, loss, love, grief, anger and the cost of war is seen with women's eyes and woven into this tale. And I'm still on the fence about the ending. Yes, it's satisfactory, but the time line doesn't sit well with me. I imagined something a bit different I know, I've being obtuse but I don't to spoil this lovely read for anyone. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Good Night, Irene.


Mystica said...

Thanks for the review.

Luanne said...

Thanks for stopping by Mystica!

Ethan said...

I've got this one set to read as soon as I finish SA Cosby's latest. I'm really looking forward to it!

Luanne said...

I hope you enjoy it Ethan!

Ethan said...

Circling back on this one to note that I agree about the ending. The shift in tone from "war is cruel" to "happily ever after" didn't sit well with me. Besides that though, the book is brilliant!

Luanne said...

Ahh! Yes, that's exactly how I felt too!