This fall I read an autobiographical book called Testament of Youth, written by Vera Brittain. I first learned of her, and this book, by watching the film of the same title on Netflix. Only 100 years have passed since WW1 ended, and our world has changed; in some ways, almost beyond recognition.
For example,in 1914 Vera was a young woman just beginning to see her long-cherished dream of studying at Oxford coming true. While a small number of women were students there (at women’s colleges), no woman could actually obtain a degree! (Eventually that changed, and she did obtain the degree she had earned.) It’s a little hard to wrap my head around, but that’s how progress goes, isn’t it? Some struggle and sacrifice to bring about change which is thereafter taken for granted by so many who would have otherwise been without it.
I also really appreciated reading the story of those years of her life because of how she threw herself into whatever purpose each season demanded of her. I am at a seasonal change in my own life in a few ways, and I am not referring to the fact that autumn has suddenly changed to cold snowy winter already! No. I don’t want to talk about this abysmal weather. I mean that, like Vera, I started my university degree as a young woman. Also like her, I stopped it to do other work (nursing soldiers in her case, mothering children in my case) that seemed more urgent and pressing at the time. And, like Miss Brittain, I am on the cusp of falling back into the delightful world of college and university, to eventually finish earning my degree.
For anyone who appreciates period dramas (especially those based on true events), I highly recommend Testament of Youth. And for those who are a bit ‘hard-core’ about books, read this one.
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