By: Charles L. Fletcher (Author), Joshua Gerstein (Editor)
Publication Date: October 6, 2022
Reviewed By: Kathy Stickles
This is the story of Joshua Gerstein’s grandfather, Charles L. Fletcher, brought to the reader through numerous letters that Charlie Fletcher wrote home to his parents and his sister while serving his country during World War II. At the start of the book Mr. Gerstein describes his visit to his parents’ home when he found all of these letters in the attic that his grandfather had written and sent home during his time away. And now these letters have been collected and put together into this book as a way for others to view Charlie Fletcher's life and thoughts during the war.
Charlie Fletcher was obviously a man devoted, not only to his country, but to his family and his Jewish heritage and this book shows that very clearly. This 20-year-old soldier made sure that he wrote home to his parents almost every day during his time away. The letters cover every aspect there was of his daily life as a soldier, while being very carefully written to make sure that his parents would not worry about their son being in the middle of such a terrible and dangerous ordeal. He talks about mundane things like what he is being given to eat so his mother will not worry that he is hungry. He describes the jobs he is doing both in America and overseas as basic tasks so no one worries that he is out there in the trenches possibly facing his death. He describes the Jewish events, holidays, and community members so his parents know that he is still immersed, safely, in his faith and heritage. He also takes time to let them know about all of the friends he is making along the way, both Jewish and not, so no one thinks that he is facing everything alone. In total his letters are written in a way that he hopes will convince his loved ones that everything is wonderful, simple, and safe, even though that is not how it worked for soldiers during World War II.
Mr. Gerstein took the time as he put together this book to make sure that the letters were in order from his grandfather’s induction into the army all the way up to his discharge and homecoming after the war and it was organized perfectly. The reader is truly able to “get to know” Charlie through his letters and see what an amazing son, brother, and soldier this man was and it was a very thought-provoking and enjoyable journey. While Charlie and his family see his accomplishment as his patriotic duty, I as a reader who knows nothing about Charlie, see a very special man who held a great love of his family and his culture and he made sure they knew how proud he was of them, while they were in another spot being very proud of him.
Love and Kisses, Charlie is a wonderful compilation of a man’s life, told through his own words and it is a must read for any parent or grandparent who watched their son go to war. It is also a great read for anyone who is a fan of historical war books.
Quill says: Love and Kisses, Charlie is a true tribute to any of the men or women who served during World War II, as well as a gift to those family members who had to be left behind and worried every day about what would happen to their sons or daughters.