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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  1,277 ratings  ·  273 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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published January 1st 2012)
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Feb 01, 2015 Carmen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: fiction
"Sir, is your captain a complete and utter idiot prone to eating Stupid Sandwiches at every meal?"

Duret couldn't meet the battle captain's eyes. "Something like that, I guess."

I had been saving this book for a rainy day - that is to say, after being in something of a slump. I saw it as a treat: something I knew I would enjoy. I was right.

This is a book about American soldiers stationed at an FOB in Baghdad. Everyone is calling it "the modern Catch-22", but I don't think that's very fair. I suppo
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
My goodness I am LOVING this laugh out loud 21st century cousin to MASH or Catch-22. 2/3 through and not ready to be done. A FOBBIT is a soldier with a non-combat job in the Iraq war Forward Operating Base. Harrowing and amazing. Cool structure where episodes are recast from a variety of points of view. Run don't walk. Had to wait 2 months on the library list and so glad I did.
Interesting insight into the vast bureaucracy of war, but the caricatures weren't as funny as Abrams hoped and the plot never really got off the ground. It seemed flabby as a novel. One surmises that the original journal entries that inspired it were probably crisper, funnier and sadder - there are some good vignettes, but it doesn't gell as a whole.
Funny as hell and dark as hell, with a cool balance maintained between the two throughout. It's a pretty deep commentary on war without getting heavy-handed about its mission, and that's a real accomplishment. Bravo, David Abrams -- excellent work, and I think a necessary one too.
Fans of Heller's Catch 22 and similar satirical war fiction will admire this veteran's fiercely ironic fictionalized take on the recent U.S. Military Involvement in Iraq. Definitely worth your attention on this Veterans Day eve.
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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
More about David Abrams...
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 Watchlist: 32 Short Stories by Persons of Interest

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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.” 3 likes
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