Fobbit
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Fobbit

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3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  1,060 ratings  ·  252 reviews
Fobbit \’fä-bit\, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.

In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like th...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mathew
Definitely disappointed with Fobbit. Mildly amusing and insightful Iraq observations for the first two chapters, but then it just begins to tell the same thing over and over. There's no central inciting incident or storyline to drive the pages. Worst, the characters are all treated with an equal and baffling mild authorial disdain or contempt. I get the fact that 'Fobbits' are the lowest of the low with their timidness and desk jobs (I understood this after it was TOLD to me in the very first li...more
Jessica Keener
This brilliant, powerfully rendered debut seizes you by the collar; spits, shouts, whispers and laughs in your ear, drags you through the sweat, pus, blood and grit of war in Iraq, 2005, and ultimately pulls every string in your heart to reveal at its core, as only a true classic war story can, the insanity of humans desperately battling the inanity of mayhem and violence. Explosive and ironic, sandstorms kicking up from the pages will land in your teeth. This novel was written in surround sound...more
Jim
In the spirit of openess, I never served, never tried to join, and therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of this fictional account of behind-the-scenes operations in Baghdad. That being said, especially in the case of military-oriented books with a supposedly humorous spin, it really is unfair when writers are compared to the greats of the genre, largely the fault of publishers eager to ring up sales, and Abrams is no Joseph Heller, but this isn't a bad book and does approach things with some...more
John Luiz
Making war and death the subject of satire and humor is a monumentally difficult task, and only a few, like Joseph Heller, can pull it off. David Abrams achieves that difficult task here, and Fobbitt fully warrants its accolades as the Catch 22 of the Iraq war. It's an eye-opening view of the lives of soldiers operating in Forward Operating Base in the middle of Baghdad. Public Affairs Office Chance Gooding serves as the moral center of the book, and he is fully aware of the futility of what he...more
John Sundman
I read an uncorrected advanced review copy; please bear in mind that some of the small problems I saw may have been fixed in the final revision.

First, the positives. The book paints a convincing picture of the claustrophobic world of the Forward Operating Base during the early years of the American occupation of Baghdad -- around 2005. The novel describes daily life of the Army bureaucrats who live and work there ("fobbits"), with some of the residents getting a more sympathetic rendering than o...more
Lance Charnes
Oct 10, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of war satire
Shelves: fiction-satire
It took almost twenty years for the great World War Two books to start to appear; the same can be said for Vietnam books (to the extent that the books were set in Vietnam and not simply about the war, a la Catch-22). That means we can look forward to the first great Iraq War book in about ten years. In the meantime, we have David Abrams’ Fobbit.

Fobbit was for me an exercise in mixed feelings. Abrams nails the atmosphere, the places, the everyday life during a rear-area deployment in the Sandbox....more
Dan
While often praised as hilarious I didn't it find it so funny. Sure there were parts that were mildly funny but over all felt the heft of the characters plight and its themes.

Overall I'd say I enjoyed it more than I did The Yellow Birds but not as much as I did Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

I think this book capped off the reading of the other two books nicely and now feel like I can take a bit of a break from reading about the Iraq war. I am happy that all three of these recently published b...more
Steve
I picked this book up at the bookstore on a whim. I usually enjoy novels about life in the military and about the irrational absurdity of a lot of the things that go on there. This book set out to chronicle the life of "Fobbits" in the U.S. Army. Admittedly, this would be an easy group to satirize. But even with the abdundance of potential material, the author fails to provide a compelling or even marginally entertaining story. The plot is very predictable and the ending was not particularly sat...more
Max
I really anticipated this book because it was advertised as the Catch 22 for the new generation. Since Catch 22 is one of my favorite books, I was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I really didn't like it, and it took me some time to figure out why.

On the surface, it's very similar to Joseph Heller's classic. There's a colorful cast of characters that are all straining against the war in their own ways and challenging our perceptions of what war means. The story is written with the sa...more
Markham Pyle
The recollection of emotion in tranquillity is harder than it looks, especially if the emotions aren’t and aren’t meant to be tranquil. The distance needed for literature vitiates the emotions unless the writer is very skilled. Dave Abrams is very, very skilled.

I’ve known Dave – in the sense in which one knows people who write for the same website – for a fair few years now. I remember when he shipped out, and when he came back; and knowing his talent, I expected great things.

I didn’t expect Fob...more
Erika Robuck
Fobbit is a bold and insightful view of how the banalities of bureaucracy provide only temporary respite from the horrors of war. Satirical, cynical, and thought-provoking, readers will become engrossed by these memorable characters and their shocking, and sometimes fitting, ends.
Chris
Absolutely the Catch-22 of OIF. Hilarious. LMAO. It's disconcerting to be laughing and chuckling so much in the midst of so much death and destruction. All the stereotypes are here with the staff guys hiding on the FOB and the hard chargers who patrol the mean streets and can barely maintain their disdain for those outside their tribe. We have four principal characters: three officers and one enlisted; two public affairs types and two infantry types. Any one who has served/deployed can relate to...more
David
Don't read this book for a good laugh. In fact, directly after reading this book one evening, I went to sleep and had a “Fobbit”-influenced nightmare.

Everybody loves to laugh. Many love to read. So when a new novel is described as hilarious, when reviewers claim they laughed when they read it, it's likely to attract people who want a good chuckle. In this case, people will pick up this book knowing that the humor is likely to be dark, but still they expect the book to be funny. It is not funny....more
Mieneke
Fobbit, being mainstream satiric fiction, is not my usual fare, but I love M*A*S*H, so the blurb caught my attention when Stefan (Civilian Reader) mentioned picking this up at BEA and I decided to ask for an ARC on Netgalley. I'm glad I did. While the book wasn't completely what I expected – I'd expected satire but not this biting – it was a quick and entertaining read.

The miniature community of a military compound in a combat zone magnifies human character traits, both the good and the bad. Fob...more
Shelby
I won an uncorrected proof of this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

I found this book to be a bit hard to get into, even though I had been very eager to start it. The first half of the book seemed to be a jumble of rehashed content, sometimes outlining characters that never (or very briefly) were mentioned again. I could not establish where the plot wanted to take me and became quite tired of hearing about Vic Duret's faceless wife and dog...

After reaching a plateau of sorts, I was glad...more
Mindy McGinnis
FOBBIT by David Abrams is a fantastic masculine satire set during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For those of you who don't know, a Fobbit is a U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base. Each chapter sets you solidly in the boots of different soldiers and their perceptions of one another as they move through the sand-covered world of Iraq, with mortars flying overhead and situations so ridiculous they're only eclipsed by the fumbling efforts to contr...more
Mac
At the beginning of Fobbit, there are several well told The Hurt Locker- type tense scenes, which are very dramatic and powerful. Throughout the book, the gruesomeness of war is evident--the danger, the dying, the maiming. And throughout the book, the absurdity of war is evident as well, particularly at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) where the staff pursues stupid, unproductive activities and waits for redeployment back home.

So the book presents the horrors and absurdities of war. What the boo...more
JDK1962
The Iraq war's version of Catch-22. Abrams uses a small cast of narrators to paint a picture of life for the inhabitants of a Forward Operating Base (hence the title) in Baghdad, rarely venturing into the streets. The constant stream of casualties is conveyed second hand to Public Affairs and reduced to press releases by men whose only sight of blood might be from a botched IV line to correct severe dehydration. Most good war novels convey life in a war zone as long stretches of boredom punctuat...more
David Patneaude
Those of us who've been away from the military for a lot of years or who've never had the experience at all need to read this book. We need to be reminded or taught about the devastating fallout from elective wars and the sad absurdity with which they're fought. We need to meet the characters so well represented in these pages--zealots and bigots and incompetents and loafers and liars and sadists and patriots and dutiful plodders and vagrants and shirkers and spongers and drunks and misogynists...more
Shawn Towner
Much of what I've read about this book compares it to Catch-22, and I can see some similarities, as both books spend time dealing with military bureaucracy. But while Catch-22 depicts an absurdly soul-crushing bureaucratic maze, Fobbit presents a more realistic view of the paperwork and command chains of the military. It's probably closer to The Office or Dilbert than it is to Catch-22. Because of this realistic bent, the book is just as much infuriating as it is funny. While we can laugh at the...more
Walt
Reviewers have compared this book to Catch-22--as if Catch-22 is a genre. FOBBIT is its own animal. A one-of-a-kind view of our recent wars, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also elsewhere in the world. Like these recent wars, FOBBIT has a hollow center. The war that FOBBIT depicts is not about saving America. It is not about saving civilization. It is a hollow war. And David Abrams has done a superb job of depicting this quality. Whether or not he intended to doesn't matter. He has shown u...more
Robert Yehling
One of the best war novels I've ever read. This book is quirky, unique, hilarious, depressing, tragic, triumphant, whimsical, sarcastic ... the emotional roller-coaster ride of war, wrapped into a most unique structure and points-of-view. Bravo to David Abrams for giving us a far more boots-on-the-ground look at Iraq in this novel than the government would allow him to do when he was trying to do his job as a U.S. Army public affairs NCO at Forward Operating Base Baghdad. If you never read anoth...more
James
A satirical look at the Iraq War, Baghdad 2005. Focused on four individuals -- two combat officers in the 7th Armored Division, and one officer and one sergeant, all white guys, in the 7th’s Public Affairs Group -- 'Fobbit' delivers some memorable characters, bristling scenes and colorful language.
I particularly liked Abrams’s handling of the PR campaign to sell this bungled Iraq mess back home to the 'Gullibles' who still supported it. Every war produces its great novels, and though I would re...more
Albert
Fobbit brought back many memories of my military service. David Abrams hit the nail on the head describing life in the military in a war zone. The strain between the warriors and the support staff(fobbits), the idiots and the idiotic procedures. Just remember when you're laughing that even though it's funny, it's still very true. A very good book which I reccommend to anyone interested in what our boys are going through over there. No, for anyone interested in reading a funny yet biting commenta...more
Joe
I review David Abrams’s first novel “Fobbit”



Like Joseph Heller's classic book, David Abrams' first novel is a satire that lampoons the stupidity, terror and futility of war. Rather than World War II Italy, however, "Fobbit" takes place in modern Iraq, with satire as scathing and funny as “Catch-22.”




Go to my blog:

Have Words Will Write ‘Em

and then to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

--Joe
Sophie
I'm not going to compare this to Catch 22 because I haven't read that book and Fobbit has only served to delay that from happening. I want Fobbit to be as far removed from my memory as possible before I try to read its obvious inspiration. If this was supposed to be humorous, it is a soup sandwich. The author put more work into describing the breasts of any woman mentioned, wives, girlfriends, mail clerks, movie stars. Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed had there been similar descriptions of male m...more
A.M.
Fobbit by David Abrams caught my attention, because it was described as deserving a placed alongside Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22. While I never made it through Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five is one of my favorite novels and one that I make a point to re-read every few years. I would also include this book alongside the film, The Men Who Stare at Goats.

Abrams was in the army for 20 years, and Fobbit is based upon his experiences in the Iraq war in 2005. A "Fobbit" is a play on Tolkien's hobb...more
Harry Woodward
If you want a sharp, sad and definitely funny satire on the Iraq war, look no further. I thought the entire novel would be about the adventures of 'Fobbit' Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr., desperately typing up press releases on the flood of KIAs while sheltered from the war in the air conditioned cubicles of FOB Triumph. But there are a whole cast of characters giving insightful aspects on the war. There's Lieutenant Colonel Vic Duret, a battle hardened officer who wants nothing more than to...more
Henri Moreaux
A humorous look at 'life behind the wire' in the 2003 Gulf War.

The story is based at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Triumph and follows a handful of misfits through a period of their deployment.

It's a well written satire which resembles closely real life in some circumstances whilst also adding a little bit more exaggeration to highlight the idiocy of some characters.

Probably one of the best real-life satires I've read.
Josh Trapani
This is a pretty good book worth reading, which tells a side of the Iraq War we haven't seen before. It centers around Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) on a base in Baghdad who - because they never leave the base like the "real" soldiers - are labeled "Fobbits" (for Forward Operating Base). The tone of comic absurdity is no doubt true-to-life and clashes nicely with much of the other fiction on Iraq and Afghanistan (and their aftermaths for individuals), which tends generally to be pretty serious...more
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David Abrams is the author of Fobbit, a comedy about the Iraq War (Grove/Atlantic). His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Salamander, Connecticut Review, The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, The North Dakota Review and other literary quarterlies. He retired from active-duty after serving in the U.S. Army for 20 years, a career which took him to Alaska, Texas, Georgia, the P...more
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Fobbitt Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand Fobbit (excerpt) (Electric Literature's Recommended Reading) Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War Alaska Passages: 20 Voices from Above the 54th Parallel

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“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” 1 likes
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