What began as the journal of an old dude's first combat deployment, has resumed as my "writer's workout sessions."
Thursday, August 9, 2012
My Review of the Outstanding Iraq War Novel, "Fobbit"
"I'm The Fighting Leprechaun...and I'm a Fobbit." (Or at least was one for a year.)
As a recovering Fobbit, who blogged during my deployment as my personal journal, I had very high expectations when David Abrams' novel was announced. I made an advance purchase for my Kindle the first week it was available, and my anticipation grew from hearing the positive buzz from other military writers I respect and admire. (i.e., Matt Gallagher) When the opportunity arose to get an advance copy of "Fobbit" through the Amazon Vine program, I jumped at the chance.
"Fobbit" exceeded my expectations in a very big way. David Abrams absolutely NAILED what it was like to serve in the Baghdad area, both for those who went "outside the wire" on a regular basis, and for those who stayed on the inside of the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), especially like Camp Victory, Camp Liberty, and the other FOBs which made up Victory Base Complex. Although I was there several years later than Mr. Abrams, very little of the culture, aside from different uniforms and the absence of multi-national forces, had changed.
Accuracy alone would not have made this superb novel as excellent as it is. David Abrams has drawn characters so real and vivid, even when they are somewhat of a caricature, that they came alive for me. That's pretty tough to do, and it is where many military novels fall short. "Fobbit's" cast could very easily be soldiers I served alongside...and a few of the scenes came uncomfortably close to instances of my own behavior. (Thankfully, none of the really egregious examples... but diving under my desk during an unscheduled "controlled detonation" of confiscated enemy explosives is still painful to recall.) The divide between Fobbits and combat troops, and even "Semi-Fobbits" like I was (30 missions outside the wire) was tangible, and often pretty tense. David Abrams artfully illustrates that divide with a couple of sentences, which will bring it alive for readers, whether you deployed over there or not.
I can't predict with certainty how "Fobbit" will affect readers who did NOT serve in Iraq. Obviously my perception is framed by my own experience. On the other hand, I was deeply affected by military novels such as "Catch-22", "Better Times Than These", and "The Thin Red Line" before I became a soldier. I'm willing to bet that "Fobbit" will have a similar impact on this and future generations. It is that good.
Baghdad Time/Temp (Just in case I'm ever tempted to complain about the weather here in WA!)
The Leprechaun Has Returned
This is the journal of a 60 year old geezer-warrior who served his tour in Iraq, and came home to resume a "normal" life as an emergency management planner and weekend warrior ...
Although I intended to put away this blog once I exchanged my ACUs and body armor for Hawaiian shirts, cargo pants and fleece vests, I found myself missing the platform to write about the goofy stuff and the good stuff I see on a daily basis.
UPDATE: I returned to Active Duty for 14 months, was unceremoniously booted out upon reaching age 60, and am back planning for disasters and catastrophic incidents. I will now focus on becoming a proficient geezer-golfer, instead of keeping up with the youngsters who so graciously let me back in the family for a while longer. They have reinforced my belief in this generation of warriors!