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This day I really didn’t need to cry more, but it was time for me to read this Christmas novella by Jardonn Smith and so I did, and of course I cried. The Good Shepherd is a bittersweet novella, it’s a Christmas novella only since the two heroes met during the Christmas season of 1944, but they did so in a prisoner camp in German territory under Nazi occupation; during that 1944 they were lucky and with the help of a German shepherd they managed to escape and go back to United States to start a life together. Good you will say, that is a story with an angst beginning but with an happily ever after. Wrong. The author didn’t deceive the reader, he starts the story in 1951 and Harold, Jack’s lover, dies in Korea; from this event, Jack walks through the memory lane and tells us the story of their brief but deep love. Jack had only 6 years with Harold, but those six years will last all his life, a life that will be 10 times longer, 60 years.

Sure, this is a bittersweet story, but it’s also a love story. Jack loved Harold, and he understood that harnesses his lover in a country life would have meant killing him. But Harold died anyway, so what is the meaning of Jack’s generosity? That he was not the one who killed him. Harold was not happy in their farm, he wanted to fly, to fly away; he loved Jack and I’m sure he was thinking that he was always coming back to him, but that is the war, and that was the fate of many soldiers who didn’t believe they would die in war. And maybe Harold thought he was different, he had already managed to escape once, why not two? Harold was for sure a dreamer, and maybe he was also young. I don’t blame Jack for letting him go, probably if that was not the case, Harold would have gone in any case, and their love would have been destroyed. In this way, even if Jack has no more Harold, he has at least the memory of their perfect love.

Amazon Kindle: The Good Sheperd (MLR Press Story A Day For the Holidays 2011)
Publisher: MLR Press,LLC (December 18, 2011)

Reading List: list&view=elisa.rolle
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