Ouf, what a sad and depressing book! I'm sure this is a serious failing on my part but I did read with interest the parts of the book that dealt with how hard people had to work to get a single meal. In today's day and age, when my next meal is never farther than the nearest supermarket (if it's not already in my home, purchased from said supermarket) it seems like such a lot of backbreaking work to get the simplest meal.
But I digress. I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I might, given its Civil War setting (a period of history I've never had much interest in), as the writing itself carried me along as it was enjoyable and not the pretentious claptrap I had feared it might be. However, at times, it felt very much like the subject matter underneath the writing was such hard work that I marveled at my will to keep going. More than once I questioned the purpose of such heavy writing; I guess it is very much true to life, and to the period in which it is set, and in fact mirrored the journeys of the main characters. On that level it was a definite success as it made me feel a kind of existential despair at a very low level in the background as I read. Not 100% sure what to make of it but I'm glad I read it.