Author: Karen Schrek
File Size: 905 KB
Print Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2012)
One year—he'll be gone for one year and then we'll be together again and everything will be back to the way it should be.
The day David left, I felt like my heart was breaking. Sure, any long–distance relationship is tough, but David was going to war—to fight, to protect, to put his life in danger. We can get through this, though. We'll talk, we'll email, we won't let anything come between us.
I can be on army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn't come home at all...?
While He Was Away had me at its blurb. I wanted to see how the author will make out of this supposedly long-distance relationship between two young people who shared an intense love and are about to part ways because of the war.
David and Penna were so much in love with each other. It all started when the both of them knew they share the same passion for art. Penna is a quiet 18-year old and the only child of a single-parent mom whom she shared a somewhat edgy and strained relationship with. But their all-consuming love and devotion to one another is put to test when David is called to Iraq for a year of military service.
There are a lot of things I like about this book, despite the fact that I thought this was a cover-to-cover love story. First, is the change in the character – especially with Penna. How readers see her maturity grows everyday and how she tries and finally learn to live her life with David away from her. While He Was Away also depicts reality – that lovers really don’t live inside a fairytale. The real world is tough and heavy with problems. A lot of couples, especially military girlfriends and wives have gone through and survived it. But you can’t help to root for them, I wanted them to be together badly, I feel that they long for each other every time they have the chance to talk. That’s why the ending surprised me.
Another thing I like about this book, is that this is more than just Penna and David’s love story. It is covered with a lot of twists and turns in its subplot that will make you read it until the every last page.
While He Was Away perfectly depicts the strain of the wait, as well as the changes and shifts in the relationships in complex way. There is no fairytale happily-ever-after to finish up the open-ended conclusion of While He Was Away. But the main character Penna, showed an amazing growth of character which is truly inspirational.
I sincerely hope that Penna and David will have their happy ending (either together or with another person). Yes, I’d love to read a sequel!
We shouldn’t wait too long for anything or anyone that we really care about.
David and I were big. Are big. But the broken, beat-up, warring, loving, beautiful, truthful world is bigger than us by far.