4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
An Extraordinary Life by Daniel C. Freeman is an amazing story of one man’s tenacity even in the face of prejudice, deception and disappointment.
In December 1944, while serving in the US Army during World War II, P. Frank Jr. walks into a drug store in Paris and is immediately taken by the charm of the lady in the store. In 1945, Sophie introduces P. Frank to her parents and they start a steady courtship. What starts as a promising relationship later turns into a tumultuous marriage. With P. Frank working in Frankfurt and Sophie still in Paris, the distance creates cracks in their marriage. Additionally, there is constant interference from Sophie’s mother-in-law. Sophie is also deceitful while P. Frank struggles to keep their marriage together. As an African American man, P. Frank faces prejudice in his work but his determination and patience do not waver.
The inclusion of the letters exchanged between P. Frank and Sophie just as they were, makes the story authentic. It was exciting as well as captivating to read the words that they used in their communication with each other. I was also able to understand the complexities of their marriage given all the obstacles they had to endure. It was interesting to read Sophie and P. Frank’s conversations with other people as well. Letting the letters tell the story made reading the book feel like stepping into the main characters’ shoes and reliving their lives.
I also loved that the story inspired me through P. Frank’s ability to fight to the end. In all the circumstances he faced, he did not easily quit. He was not afraid to speak his mind and fight for what he felt he deserved despite facing many accounts of racism both in the army and at work after the war was over. He also really fought for his marriage and was willing to forgive many times and even sacrifice his own comfort for Sophie’s.
An Extraordinary Life also gave me a glimpse into history and helped me appreciate what African Americans have had to go through as a whole. The painful times spent in the army coupled with discriminatory acts despite these men giving their lives for their country left me amazed at their loyalty to their country.
The letters are arranged in chronological order and the book is edited well. The title was a bit confusing at first since the main focus is P. Frank’s first marriage and not necessarily his experiences in the army or his later life. Still, I think that P. Frank Jr. lived an extraordinary life. This book is a must-read for readers who have an interest in relationships set during and after World War II especially accounts that include African Americans struggles against racism. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
An Extraordinary Life
View: on Bookshelves
Like EmunahAn's review? Post a comment saying so!