I rarely buy e-books on an impulse, that kind of excitement and recklessness is usually reserved for paperbacks or hardbacks. But in the morning today, my twitter feed showed up an article by Los Angeles Times, the headline read “After World War II and the Japanese incarceration, they fell in love. At 98, he’s published a tribute to his beloved”.
It’s a memoir titled “Eternal Love” by Louis Moore.
“Moore is now sharing his love story as widely as he can at a time when the country is grappling with a rise in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the LA Times tweeted. One could see a sweet American-Asian looking couple smiling at the camera on the cover of the novel.
At a time when our feeds are filled with desperate pleas for help, of news of deaths and loss due to the pandemic, a love story is perhaps a good distraction. So I went to my kindle app immediately and looked for the book and bought the e-copy. Most readers would be intrigued right? It’s not very often that you hear of a happy marriage that lasted 74 long years. That’s eternal enough.
As I started reading the book, just the first page dedication by the author to his wife felt slightly overwhelming. Moore starts the memoir by telling us how he first met his wife Nellie in 1946, right after he received his ‘honorable discharge’ from the American Air Force. It soon begins to feel like a sweet tale being recited by your grandfather. The language is simple, conversational, with very short sentences.
“Eternal Love” is less of a memoir and more of a tribute by Louis Moore to the love of his life, the woman he was happily married to for 74 years. He makes it sound too easy. Although it’s evident that both Moore and Nellie hustled hard and held a lot of different jobs before they settled into a comfortable life. There are times, when, like a typical ‘wise old man’, he gets slightly preachy, passing out advice on how to have a happy marriage. Some bits readers might not agree to, like when says having kids usually ends a marriage. Ouch. I chuckled hard at that one and didn’t have a problem with that opinion. Many might not feel the same.
Sometimes, Moore gets a little repetitive and recalls things that he has already mentioned in an earlier chapter. At one point I wondered if I had accidentally gone back to a chapter and was re-reading it, but that was not the case. For a book that’s less than 100 pages, and for an author who has lived to be almost 100, I am sure he might have had more to say, instead of repeating the same details. One should perhaps blame those who helped him edit the book, because it could have used a few more rounds of editing and fine-tuning. It feels like a scattered personal diary, like someone jotting down memorable moments of his life in no particular order.
Louis Moore is clearly not a story-teller, he is a world-war veteran who greatly loved his wife and wanted to share his love story at a time when the world is going through a crisis. For those looking to be distracted by a real-life story, that’s easy to read and maybe even relatable at points, “Eternal Love” may offer a good break. It’s a story about two very hard-working individuals, an American-Chinese man, who married an American-Japanese woman, a match that was not approved by either of their families at first, but they won their acceptance eventually, just like they found a place to call ‘home’, in a country that was hostile to those of Asian descent.
It’s a 3/5 from me.
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