by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 22 January 2015
"I came from a family of Marines into the family of Marines." Jim Lehrer
A few weeks ago my wife received a Barnes & Noble Nook Book of the Day alert (as she does daily) and, after reading aloud the synopsis, asked if I was interested.
Yes. And momentarily it was on my Nook, too.
A Marine wrote it. A young Marine - LSU graduate (history and creative writing); commissioned in 2002; deployed twice to Iraq; left active service as a captain; earned an MBA from Loyola in 2010; and presently lives in New Orleans.
The story is a novel based on truth.
Fiction is not my bag. But truth is, absolutely.
The writing is superb.
The storytelling superb.
The descriptions of being and doing things Marine superb. Throughout, I caught myself pausing, reflecting back - to include the first days of OCS. Feelings of exhaustion and aches and uncertainty and hardship and then duty and decision-making throughout my service returned with clarity. And so did feelings of responsibility and death (which never leaves - the death of a recruit nearly 32 years ago still seems like this morning).
I read the book in a couple of days, finishing it yesterday (ironically, while flying over the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, CA). I put it down to eat and sleep. It was that good. The ending logical though I wished it did not end. More of the characters - Marines; a corpsman; and civilians, too - I wanted to know.
It's been a long time since I've thought that about a book.
Of course the story is about war. And it's about lives after home from war. To say more would spoil.
I've read some good books lately - to include 'Duty' by Robert Gates; '41' by George W. Bush; 'Killing Patton' by Bill O'Reilly; 13 Hours (in Benghazi) by Mitchell Zuckoff; and others.
'Fives and Twenty-Fives' by Michael Pitre is better. Much better. Captain Michael Pitre, USMC has written quite a gem, in my opinion.
As the Nook Book of the Day it was not five nor twenty-five but a buck ninety-nine ($1.99). I saw the ebook on Amazon for less than $10.00. Worth it!
Recommend the book - to Marines, Sailors, families thereof, and everyone. Support this Marine! Support this aspiring artist, writer. Pass it on, please.
No, I do not know him. But maybe one day (as my wife and I once lived in New Orleans and visit on occasion) we Marines, we artists, will cross paths. And drink a beer. Or maybe a good single malt. And talk Marine things - which generations (of Marines) can always do. After all, as Jim Lehrer said, 'Marines are family.'
Don't waste your money nor time on Leon Panetta's 'Worthy Fights' - though a patriot, he unashamedly steps forward as head cheerleader for Obama and Clinton. Awful. Tough reading. Some truth.