My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Actual Rating: 3.75
*Thank you to the author for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.*
Public Information by Rolf Margenau follows 22-year-old Wylie Cipher as he finds himself in the midst of the Korean war in 1953. However, instead of having to fight in the front lines, he joins the Public Information Office and begins reporting on actual events. Though he meets so many people throughout his experience – such as Shit Dad and Amelia – at the same time, he remembers that he’s leaving so many others behind.
Before I get started, I just want to say that I am someone who usually doesn’t read historical fiction, so I went into this with a grain of salt. The book turned out to be just as hard to review as I thought it would be. On one hand, I really liked the beginning and the end but on the other, I thought that the kind of lost momentum in the middle. Between the 30% and 60%, I thought the story was a bit slow.
Other than that, I thought the plot was written well. The story was realistic and eye-opening, and I found myself wanting to know even more about what life was like for people involved in war efforts. There was a great blend of humorous and serious moments which I thought added to the realism of the story.
Right off the bat, I thought that Wylie was a really likable character. I liked his charisma and his personality, and I felt like he was easy to connect and relate to. Though the story was carried by the plot, there was a lot of character development for Wylie that really contributed to the coming-of-age theme. How he dealt with grief and love and every other human emotion really brought the story to life. For me, I have to say that my other favorite character was Amelia; though she was introduced a little later in the story, I took a liking to her bright personality straightaway and I thought the author did a fantastic job with the relationship dynamic between her and Wylie.
The writing style was engaging and descriptive throughout. There were a few typos and errors, such as “He strode resolutely to his side and emptying the pot on his left boot” and calling Mai Lee “Mail Lee”, but other than that, I thought the book was fluent and professional.
I really don’t want to give too much away – there’s a lot of depth to this story and it would definitely be the kind that you could reread over and over and find something new every time. Overall, I thought the story was beautiful and allowed me to educate myself on what the “forgotten war” was like. Above all, it was a reminder:
There’s gonna be more for you to do. There’s gonna be better days. Life goes on.
Wise words from Shit Dad.