Category: Movie Tie-In


The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick 

Pat Peoples seems like the sweetest man on earth, but for some reason he’s coming home from a mental institution to live with his parents—in his mid-thirties—and he completely loses it when he hears Kenny G music.

Pat thinks he has been away for a few months. Actually it’s been four years. He thinks that he is experiencing “apart time” from his wife, and that if he can control his temper (‘it’s more important to be kind than to be right’), and stay on his rigorous exercise program and lose weight, he will win her back. Because, after all, his life is like a movie created by God. It will have the silver lining of a reunion with Nikki.

In trying to understand Nikki, Pat is reading all of the books that she teachers to her high school English classes. He’s surprised at how negative and depressing they are. As a former English teacher, I laughed at Pat’s comments on books like The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They don’t have the kind of silver linings Pat expects form life, the kind that ought to be examples for kids.

At home, the silver lining also remains hidden. Things are not going as Pat planned despite hours of daily weightlifting, regular visits with a psychiatrist, and all that reading, Nikki isn’t back on the scene. But another woman, who at first seems like a nymphomaniac but is grieving in her own dysfunctional way, is following him on his long runs. Meanwhile, the mood of the Peoples household, and particularly Pat’s father, swings with the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Pat’s dad is emotionally distant and unforgiving.

So where’s the silver lining? It’s not the one Pat was looking for, but it’s there. And I loved going on the journey with Pat to find it. Good, heartwarming stuff that embraces dysfunctional people of all kinds.

High school housekeeping: I’m always hoping that high school students will read adult books because they often (though certainly not always) juggle more issues, have more challenging vocabulary and less certain endings—like real life. I think Silver Linings Playbook is a good choice for moving into adult fiction. It’s just slightly longer than the typical YA fiction, but shorter than much adult fiction. It’s funny. You’ll like the main character, the story, and the pace. You’ll like that you can compare it to the movie. In addition, Matthew Quick writes YA fiction as well—and we have his stuff in our library. He was a high school teacher at one time, and has a good sense of what entertains and informs you. As mentioned above, The Silver Linings Playbook has a humorous vein about the books read in high school English classes. I really think it would be fun to have a ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ class and read this novel first, then read all the novels mentioned in it—and compare students’ reactions to the book to Pat’s reactions.

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When we think of summer reading, we think of books we choose because we like them—books for fun.

In the past I’ve read long lists of YA books over the summer and have encouraged you to read some of them as well. This year I think I need to feed my soul with some not-so-light adult books that probably don’t have wide teen appeal. I will also be reading some books about bullying—both the cyber sort and the in-person attacks. (I listed choices in a recent post.)

Since I think you should pick some fun reads for summer, I hope you’ll read some YA books that are soon to be movies. Reading the book before you see the movie provides a good opportunity for you to compare and contrast two works; it’s a great way to think at a higher level without even realizing that your brain is working.

 Win-win.

 So many good teen books are coming as movies in the next few years. Here are some that I’ve read and reviewed:

 2013:

Catching Fire

(Second book in the Hunger Games trilogy)

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The Great Gatsby

(OK, it’s an adult book, but teens read it in school, it’s short, and it’s great—

romance, betrayal, mobsters–all the stuff teens love)

2014 and possibly 2015:

Divergent

Graceling

The Knife of Never Letting Go

(first book in the Chaos Walking series)

Incarceron

The Maze Runner

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

The Fault in Our Stars

(Yea! It will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel. No word on Gus yet.)

Coming as movies soon, but I haven’t had the chance to read the books yet:

Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen, of course.)

Actually, I have had the chance to read this one,

but I didn’t like it, and I quit after a few chapters.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Have a great summer reading on your own and at the theater!

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I know this is a long shot, but I’m hoping there’s a student

who will take me up on this.

Summer reading for the truly motivated!

While the focus of Team of Rivals is on Lincoln’s political acumen and on his relationship with his major political rivals turned advisers and friends, there is a lot of interesting discussion of their personal lives. This is a sort of group biography of the men who steered the country through the Civil War, and of the women who influenced them.

Many of the men discussed in Team of Rivals were prominent candidates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1860. Several of them were better known than Lincoln, particularly William Henry Seward. None of them thought Lincoln would secure the nomination. Yet it was their own rivalries that made Lincoln’s victory possible, as delegates who didn’t want a certain prominent candidate to be nominated would throw their votes to Lincoln.

I admit to knowing little about the Civil war period. This book was a thoroughly enjoyable way to learn about the lives of Abraham Lincoln and the men in his cabinet, of their relationships to family members, and in turn the influence those family members had on the direction of this country. Even more interesting—and instructive—was seeing how Lincoln was able to take all these rivals of his (and of one another) and pull them together in his cabinet—a team whose diverse opinions were crucial to Lincoln as he navigated one of the worst periods in U.S. history.

Once Lincoln had established his cabinet, William Seward, as secretary of state, thought that he would be running the country, with Lincoln as his puppet. But over time, he understood Lincoln’s political genius. The two became great friends. So, too with Edwin Stanton. Stanton had disrespected Lincoln when he was a lawyer working in Springfield, refusing to meet with or even talk to him after engaging him to work on a trial in Cincinnati, and calling him a ‘long-armed ape.’ Yet Lincoln later made Stanton his secretary of war. Stanton became a good friend and is the man who said, on Lincoln’s death, “Now he belongs to the ages.” In addition, the escaped slave, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass came to respect Lincoln after meeting him to discuss freeing slaves.

Unfortunately, Salmon Chase, Lincoln’s secretary of the treasury, could never put aside his jealousy of the president. Chase seemed to have no loyalties to friends and people who had helped his career (so it wasn’t just Lincoln), but he did stay loyal to anti-slavery platforms. His behavior appears to be wholly motivated from a desire to be the president—even at the expense of Lincoln’s policy and reputation. He always felt that he was more deserving of the presidency than Lincoln, and he let others know it. He was fond of submitting his resignation when he didn’t get what he wanted, but was surprised on the fifth submission that Lincoln accepted it. However, Lincoln later appointed Chase to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. According to Goodwin, Lincoln had a “singular ability to transcend personal vendetta, humiliation, or bitterness.” It is this as much as anything else that makes him a great man.

Another man who comes off poorly is General George McClellan, who couldn’t take action in leading Union troops into battle, yet blamed all his faults on others, and particularly on Lincoln’s leadership.

Deeply revealing of the political climate of the time is the role of the women in these men’s lives. I enjoyed Francis Seward’s abolitionist stance and the letters she wrote to her husband and friends about what brought her to the cause (the immorality of slavery, the pathetic situation of slaves that she saw as she traveled). Not all whites sympathetic to slaves held these same views. Many Northerners and Republicans (the party of Lincoln) held that slavery would naturally end as society became more urban and industrialized.

Kate Chase, daughter of Salmon Chase, was the beauty who was at the top of the social pecking order, the girl everyone wanted to admire or court. She was so popular that Mary Lincoln was sometimes jealous of her. And yet her marriage and subsequent life was tragic.

Mary Todd Lincoln sounds better in Team of Rivals than in the few sources I’ve read before. She appears to have suffered terrible migraine headaches, and this affected her responses in social situations. She does hold more grudges than Lincoln, but to be honest, just about anyone in the world does. (His ability to let go of past hurts is nearly superhuman.) Team of Rivals also discusses the over-the-top spending habits Mary is now so famous for. However, Goodwin also catalogs the necessary improvements she made in the White House, which had been left to fall apart. Mary wasn’t very good at controlling her image in the press—she did much good, such as regularly visiting hospitals to care for wounded Union soldiers. Her work went unnoticed while the wives of other Politicians were lauded for the same activities. And, of course, her grief over the loss of her children—eventually three of her four boys—had to be a major factor in her bouts of depression.

While this point may seem just a sidebar in the evaluation of the book, I think it’s valuable. The deep grief suffered by so many of these ‘major players’ on the national scene changed all of them, for better and for worse. Lincoln suffered the deaths of his mother, his much-loved sister, and two of his sons (another died after Lincoln was assassinated). Chase lost several wives and became dependent on his elder daughter to be his social coordinator. The Sewards lost a daughter. Others close to the Lincolns lost their sons and husbands in the war. That the death of young wives and children was so commonplace in the mid-nineteenth century is important to remember. People learned compassion or they learned to be unnecessarily mean.

Since Team of Rivals covers such an important period of the country’s history, it includes insights on many of the significant issues and legislation of the day, particularly legal wrangling over slavery—the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott decision, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment, and more. Some of the events are shocking. Abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner, while railing against the expansion of slavery, verbally attacked senators who supported it. Congressman Preston Brooks later physically attacked Sumner, feeling that he was defending his relative’s honor. The idea that one man could cane another, nearly to death, right on the Senate floor, boggles the mind. Interestingly, this beating rallied the anti-slavery forces in the country.

This is such a great book on every level—the political, social, historical and personal. Not only that, but it includes many of the funny stories Lincoln was always telling—full of folk wisdom and often making his adversaries see the value of his point. The only thing that will keep you from reading it is the length—over 900 pages. While about 150 pages are endnotes and indices, that still leaves 750 pages. Even students who are good readers and enjoy history may not be able to find the time for such reading, especially if they are memorizing thousands of facts for AP tests!

Would you be willing to read this one over the summer? You won’t be disappointed. During the school year, you might make a deal with teachers who require about 200 pages of outside reading per quarter. Ask them if you can use Team of Rivals for biography as well as other nonfiction, and then as a free choice. That will cover at least 600 pages. I think any teacher would love the idea that you’d choose to read this book and enrich your education. By the time you get to Lincoln’s death, you will be so moved by his story that you’ll be hoping it won’t happen, even though you know it’s a historical fact. You can’t ask for more from a work of nonfiction.

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Ontario City Library and Best Buy Children’s Foundation

are sponsoring another Teen Book Fest!

May 11, 2013

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Merton E. Hill Auditorium

(on the Chaffey campus–next to the district offices)

211 W. Fifth Street, Ontario

You must reserve a ticket, but it’s free. Call 909-395-2225.

Doors open at 8:30. Come early and buy a book

so that you can have the author sign it!

This year’s authors include:

Carrie Arcos–Out of Reach

Leigh Bardugo–Shadow and Bone

Jennifer Bosworth–Struck

Jessica Brody–My Life Undecided

Stephen Chbosky–The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sara Wilson Etienne–Harbinger

Suzanne Lazear–Innocent Darkness

Marie Lu–The Legend series

Morgan Matson–Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Gretchen McNeil–Ten and Possess

Gregg Olsen–The Empty Coffin series

Andrew Smith–The Marbury Lens and others

Ann Stampler–Where  It Began

Lex Thomas–Quarantine: The Loners

See you there!

   Ethan’s family has lived in Gatlin, South Carolina, “the epicenter of the middle of nowhere,” for generations. The town is full of history and superstition, as Ethan believes can only happen in the South. The neighbors are obsessed with the Civil War, which they call (like many Southerners) “The War of Northern Aggression.” His dreams of a mysterious girl become reality when he begins his sophomore year at Stonewall Jackson High and sees Lena for the first time. And this new girl is special—not only is she a break from the extraordinary boredom of the town (finally!), but she has extraordinary powers.

Lena’s big problem seems to be that she is old man Ravenwood’s niece. As the relative of a shut in who makes ‘Boo Radley look like a social butterfly,’ she is prejudged as a social nobody. She plays the haunting song of Ethan’s dreams “Sixteen Moons.” She also comes to school in a hearse. But much worse is in store for Lena than being shunned by the cheer squad. She’s a Caster (think ‘witch’) and has no control over whether, on her sixteenth birthday—coming soon—she will be changed to dark or light, good or evil. If she goes dark, she won’t retain any compassion or love for others (that, of course, includes Ethan). It’s what happened to Lena’s cousin, Riley, a year earlier. And Riley is one scary witch.

Ethan is energetic, funny, and escapes the boredom of his town life through books. If he were a girl, you’d call him sassy. I related to him immediately. It’s fun that he narrates the book because Gothic romance almost always has a female narrator.

I’m pretty late in realizing that Beautiful Creatures was becoming a movie. I ran out and got a few more copies for each of my schools, and then read it as quickly as possible. I usually have complaints about Gothic/fantasy books because they repeat themselves so often, but not so in Beautiful Creatures. It’s a long book, but we regularly get new information and the story moves along. It’s true that a few big scenes are pretty straight steals from Stephen King’s Carrie (another big dance gone wrong!) and the “Harper Valley PTA” song, but I enjoyed the writing, the characters, and the setting. When people act out of character, there is a reason, revealed in the book’s climax. The fact that it’s multigenerational—information about Casters and Seers comes from aunts, uncles, grandparents—adds to the fun of the mystery and gives us more people to worry about when the spells and supernatural evil starts flying.

Movie Tie-Ins: The Help by Kathryn Stockett  

As I mentioned earlier, I read because I wanted to try a Jack Reacher novel. If you read my post, you know I didn’t like it very much. As I was thinking the other day about good books for movie tie-ins, I was reminded of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Since the movie was so popular—and award winning—you might have already seen it. This is a book that makes an easy transition to the screen. Whether you’ve seen the film or not, you’ll enjoy the read. If a teacher asks you to write a compare/contrast of a book made into a movie, The Help is a good choice.

Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny are the protagonists who alternately tell their stories. It’s 1962 and the three women live in Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter has just graduated from college (Ol’ Miss) and comes home to her parents’ farm. Her close friends quit college and got married. They have one or more children. But Skeeter’s a bit frustrated as a ‘new’ adult who is being told what to do by her mother. She wants to be a serious writer, and, as many people come to feel at this age, she is realizing that her values aren’t the same as those of her longtime friends.

Skeeter can see how her friends treat their help—the Black women who take care of their children, clean their houses and cook their meals. (Since the white women in this novel don’t work outside the home, and seem to do absolutely nothing in the home, I wasn’t surprised that they filled their lives with gossip and backstabbing. If life doesn’t have any drama, people are sure to create some!) Aibileen and Minny are the help. Aibileen is great with kids—she’s raised seventeen of them. She is slyly boosting the self-confidence of Mae Mobley, whose mother, Elizabeth (a friend of Skeeter’s), is pretty lousy with kids. Unfortunately, Aibileen’s own son died a few years earlier, and she is grieving. Minnie appears to be the opposite of Aibileen—she tells it like it is and has been fired more than once over her comments. She has five children of her own and a husband who is a drinker and wife abuser. She’s known as the best cook around.

The three women embark on a book project. They recruit other maids to tell their stories—to shed light on what it is like to work in white women’s homes and to care for children who will later treat them as inferiors. All the while, Skeeter is wondering what happened to Constantine, the Black woman who raised her, but disappeared just before Skeeter came home from college.

I’ve seen professional reviews of this book that say it will prick consciences. I don’t agree with that. I think that it’s a book that feels safe because the treatment of the maids is now considered heinous, and readers can be smug when comparing themselves to Hilly, Skeeter’s truly awful (and possibly one-dimensional) friend.

Still, outside of a few details that I couldn’t come to terms with—the issue of toilets on Hilly’s lawn was one (Skeeter wouldn’t have jeopardized those Black men’s very lives with such a stunt, and they would have been too afraid to participate anyway)—The Help is an achievement. We care deeply about the characters, we worry about the setbacks in each of their lives, and we are filled with anxiety over the suspense. In short, we are immersed in Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. We’re stunned by what is considered normal, by the way people treat one another. And glad for changes since then.

Knowing that the Jack Reacher movie was coming out, I decided to try one of the novels—Worth Dying For—just to see if it was something our students would like.

I’d never read a Jack Reacher book before and was a bit surprised that he is 6’5” and Tom Cruise is playing the part. Having only read the one book, I don’t know why Reacher, former cop and war veteran, is a one-man vigilante, bound to seek justice for the little guy (and gal). Whatever the reason, he is certainly good at it. I guess this was sort of Die Hard in a book.

In Worth Dying For, Reacher finds himself in a very small town in Nebraska where the Duncan family plays a local, minor mafia. When Reacher sees that Eleanor Duncan, the wife of one of these bad guys, has an unstoppable bloody nose, he realizes that her husband, Seth, beats her. So he finds Seth and breaks his nose just to give him an idea of what it feels like.

But more trouble is afoot—the Duncans are not only abusive, they are criminals who force the local farmers to use their trucking company to transport their crops. And they seem to have been involved in the disappearance of an eight-year-old neighbor girl 25 years earlier. But why? And where did Seth Duncan, the adopted son of one of the three Duncan brothers, come from? No one is allowed to question them. The Duncans employ former Nebraska Cornhusker football players as henchmen. (I have a feeling that Cornhusker alumni don’t like this book much.) Everyone in the town is so afraid of the Duncan family that they have formed a phone tree to always let one another know what the Duncans are doing.

When Reacher starts snooping around, the Duncans need to have him taken out. As he is too much for the former football players, they seek help from their criminal contacts all the way from Las Vegas. Everyone gets in on the plan to kill Reacher because they all depend on illegal shipments by the Duncan family trucking business. What these shipments are is one of the mysteries for the reader to figure out.

I can understand why some readers would like Jack Reacher novels. Honest. But I hated this one, so it’ll be my last Jack Reacher novel. He gets out of trouble way too easily for me. I wish the author would have allowed him to have a few big fails—the kind that make readers worry about the protagonist and become invested in him.

The other thing about me is that I can only take so many descriptions of how to break noses—and even fewer on how to pop them back into place. Only so many descriptions of kicking and blowing things up—at least ones that include exact measurements of the sizes of all equipment and all body parts involved. How many centimeters between the bridge of the nose and the center of the forehead? I really don’t care.

I also don’t like it when the writing tends toward this sort of thing: ‘A car was coming down the road. It was red, but you couldn’t tell in the dark. It looked blue or gray or black—something not light, like white or yellow. Reacher knew that the car could turn left away from him. He knew that it could turn right toward him.’ (No—not a direct quote, just close.) Honestly, as much action as there is in this book, as much repetitive and gratuitous violence, it was surprising how it just seemed to drag on and on because of the monotony of the descriptions (including all those measurements.) I thought it would never end, but I stuck with it because I had invested so much time in it. By the time I finally finished, the movie had already been out for several weeks.

The end of this book, the disappearance mystery, the revelation of illegal product that the Duncans are transporting—that was very good. And the description of victims is the most understated, best writing in the entire novel. It worked beautifully, and made me wish the rest of the book had been written that way. Good as that ending was, it just took me too long to get there to want to try another book in the series. But, my taste in this matter is probably in the minority. High school guys may like the Jack Reacher books in the same way that they like violent action films. If so, there are many titles in the series available at our local public library.

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One in an occasional series of topics that are tough for adults to address with teens.

Since we’ve recently had anti-bullying assemblies at both of my schools, I’ve been talking up some of the best books in our libraries about bullying. You might want to check one out:

Teen Classics:

I’ve read and recommend all these.  Summaries are from the publisher. 

The Outsiders: According to Ponyboy, you’re either a Greaser or a Soc. Coming from the wrong side of town, he’s a Greaser and his high school rivals are the Socs, the kids who have the money, the attitude and can get away with anything. The Socs love to spend their time beating up the Greasers but Ponyboy and his friends know what to expect and stick together. But one night someone goes to far and Ponyboy’s world begins to crumble.

The Chocolate War: A high school freshman discovers the devastating consequences of refusing to join in the school’s annual fund raising drive and arousing the wrath of the school bullies.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes: Eric “Moby” Calhoune attempts to answer his best friend, Sarah Byrne’s, dramatic cry for help in dealing with a horrific event in her past.

for the post on our new bullying books.

for the post of bullying books that I’ve reviewed.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler; illustrated by Maira Kalman

Why We Broke Up is a ‘graphic novel’ of sorts. That is, it’s a novel and it has lots of graphics. But it’s not in a comic book style.

Minerva—Min—is writing her ex-boyfriend, Ed, a letter about why they broke up. She plans to include this letter in a box of items associated with memories of their time together—keys, tickets, photos, postcards, a coat—you name it. Each item is drawn on a full color page of the book. And then there is the story behind the item. And each item has significance in that it is emblematic of why the break up took place.

Min and Ed weren’t like every couple. They didn’t seem to belong together. Ed is the co-captain of the basketball team, is very popular, likes social events at school, parties a lot, has had a lot of girlfriends and a lot more experience than Min. Min, on the other hand, is considered ‘arty.’ She’s ‘different.’ She wants to be a film director and sees events in her life as they relate to good movies. She takes Ed to see classic films. She plans an eighty-ninth birthday party for a golden-age film star. Actually, Min is very creative, has funny and good friends, and is often coming up with interesting things to do that no one else would think up

So what do Ed and Min have in common? Just each other. They are love-struck and immediately tell one another so. They have lots of plan for several months in advance. So they can’t see what all their friends can. They can’t see what Min’s mom and Ed’s sister see. That this relationship is doomed.

I liked Why We Broke Up because of the realistic portrayal of how a relationship in which two people have the worst sort of hots for each other will play out. This is done with empathy for the characters, especially Min. No reader will gloat over her broken heart. You will only remember that you were there once, too.

For students who were fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events when young, you may recognize the author, Daniel Handler. He is Lemony Snickett. I’m noting that this novel is for mature readers because of a single scene. If you’re a conservative reader and wonder whether a single scene will make you decide against reading it, go ahead and flip through the pictures in the novel. Two of them will be clues, and you will be able to make a valid decision. (I don’t want to give away the scene in this review—it’s an important, meaningful part of the book.)

Adult Books for Teens: War by Sebastian Junger

In the year between June 2007 and June 2008, the Korengal Valley was the most dangerous place for a soldier to be at war. The daily temperatures of one hundred degrees, the rough and barren terrain, as well as the many unsympathetic locals (many village elders were working with the Taliban) compounded problems for Second Platoon, Battle Company, which was involved in more firefights than soldiers in any other area of the war, sometimes in more than one battle a day.

During this period, author Sebastian Junger was embedded with Second Platoon, Battle Company. He had photojournalist Tim Hetherington with him. They shot 150 hours of videotape and used that for their documentary film Restrepo. War received many notable book commendations and has been a bestseller. Restrepo received the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary in 2011.

Junger tells us at the beginning of the book that he was wholly dependent on the Army for food, shelter, and protection, but that Army officials never tried to censor what he recorded nor to “alter [his] reporting in any way or to show the contents of [his] notebooks or [his] cameras.” So, this is a true picture of warriors in battle. Although it was published for an adult audience, it’s an important read for students who are considering joining a branch of the military because it does give such a realistic picture of war. And, it’s not a bad read for the rest of us either—Americans who are forgetting that one percent of our population is fighting this war without a whole lot of support from the rest of us.

War has scenes of intense battle and of the subsequent deaths and maiming, of how these losses affect the psyches of the men who are not physically harmed. (Junger is there when Second Platoon members are caught in an ambush and an IEU blows up their Humvee.) It also shows the boredom of the men between battles. And Junger delves into the warrior mentally in a way I haven’t read in another book. “War is a lot of things and it’s useless to pretend that exciting isn’t one of them.”

These men are some of the best trained soldiers around, but they are also undisciplined. “O’Byrne’s 203 gunner, Steiner, once got stabbed trying to help deliver a group beating to Sergeant Mac, his squad leader, who had backed into a corner with a combat knife. In Second Platoon you got beat on your birthday, you got beat before you left the platoon—on leave, say—and you got beat when you came back. The only way to leave Second Platoon without a beating was to get shot.”

Junger deals honestly with the fact that a lot of guys in Second Platoon live for the high, for the adrenaline rush, of being in a firefight, of shooting weapons. He shows that returning to civilian life is often difficult for them because they can’t get that rush back. They also can’t duplicate the intense love they have for one another in a situation where each would, without a second thought, sacrifice his life for his warrior brothers. “’I never got in trouble, but Bobby beat up a few MPs, threatened them with a fire extinguisher, pissed on their boot. But what do you expect from the infantry, you know? I know that all the guys that were bad in garrison were perfect f– soldiers in combat. They’re troublemakers and they like to fight. That’s a bad garrison trait but a good combat trait—right?’”

Adults will remember Junger’s work from the bestselling books A Death in Belmont and The Perfect Storm (which was made into a movie). This is an equally good book, and I highly recommend it. It does contain a lot of profanity—perfectly natural as the soldiers are quoted frequently.

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