Book Review: Life Dust: A Novel by Pam Webber (five stars)
“Quy is what Asians call ‘life dust’ or one who is left behind.”
Amazing tale of second chances. The protagonist, Nettie (and her now-fiancé Andy) from The Wiregrass and Moon Water, matures and faces new challenges personally and professionally in the early 1970s. Dual-track plot with several cross connections. Dickens would have been proud.
“Sometimes the most valuable lessons are not the ones we learn in a classroom, they’re the ones we learn when people abuse power.”
The best kind of historical fiction, inserting the reader in history. Since Webber is a nurse, we assume she got the nuances of nursing student life right. Vietnam veterans will recognize she got enough of the situation on the ground in Vietnam’s I Corps in 1971-72 and events related to the National League of POW/MIA Families right that she must have consulted those who had been there.
“Never underestimate the power of human contact and what it means to someone who feels isolated and alone.”
Overtly Christian. Optimistic. Not overtly political, though hospital and military life is awash with internal politics. Her characterization of military and medical types rings true. All of which will offend some readers. Those who stick with the story will be rewarded.
“People rarely forgive you for what they do to you.”
As true for her previous books, Webber does not dwell on race though several characters are people of color. Personalities are fully drawn and engaging.
“No one is beyond forgiveness.”
(Full disclosure: I was a beta reader of this novel in 2021. This review reflects my impression then and now. The finished product is even better.)