This was a surprisingly good book. As much as I like memoirs and non fiction I didn't think I'd be very much into this but I was. I read it years ago...moreThis was a surprisingly good book. As much as I like memoirs and non fiction I didn't think I'd be very much into this but I was. I read it years ago so I can't really remember specifics but I do remember being pleasantly surprised. (less)
When I first saw this book I thought it looked interesting. Aside from the fact that Williams looks almost exactly like my best friend from high schoo...moreWhen I first saw this book I thought it looked interesting. Aside from the fact that Williams looks almost exactly like my best friend from high school (she didn't have Williams' high forehead), I thought it might give me a glimpse into army life. It did that. It did that well to be honest. When I got the book I let it sit around for months which is nothing unusual for me. The only reason i even read it right now was for a reading challenge. When I started the book I was a little unnerved. Williams for some reason thought it was an okay thing to speak nagetively about Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England. What she said doesn't really matter- it's the fact that she said it. She's supposed to have morals and hold up certain expectations (her words) yet she feels it's okay to diss other soldiers? That really struck me wrong and I thought it was going to color the entire book for me. In the end it didn't but I still don't like her. She's no better than Lynch or England in my eyes- each has their own faults like everyone else. Somehow, as much as that bothered me, I was able to get past it and not let it make the rest of the book seem awful. If you're wanting a day to day knowledge of what some soldiers face at war then this is a good book for that. She *seems* very honest, with everything, from the daily situations to her thoughts and feelings. She mentioned a few things I surely wouldn't have. I wish she'd have put in a bit more about the locals but that's just me and I won't fault the book for that. I can read about them elsewhere if I want to. I didn't think she was too hard on the other females at all. I've seen some reviews and heard people say they thought that. I didn't get the impression of that at all. I think she's right with everything she said in relation to the women. I'd hate to be one of two women soldiers in a group of 100+ male soldiers and then have the other female screwing all these guys. What does that make them think about women in general? She had and has every right to be hard on those women. She mentioned the incompentant ones along with the ones she felt were honorable soldiers. You can't really ask someone for more than that. I thought she included both side of the coin which is all I can ask. Like I said, it seems very honest. Nancy Pearl out of Seattle seems to think the book is "brave, honest, and necessary." It is honest (from what I could tell) but brave? Mmmmmm...not really. Necessary? Sorry, nope. 1 out of 3 ain't bad though right?
3.5 - Hmmmmm... I just finished reading some reviews and one in particular is making me think. A few of the reviewers got the impressions that Canedy...more3.5 - Hmmmmm... I just finished reading some reviews and one in particular is making me think. A few of the reviewers got the impressions that Canedy was glossing over aspects and/or romanticizing other aspects - I didn't get that impression at all. The book isn't all great (IMO) but that I did not come away with. I think I'd like Canedy if I met her in person, she seems very well adjusted, very well in tune with herself. I, like other reviewers, went into this thinking it would be Charles' words to his son. I, like another reviewer, wasn't sure if that was "appropriate" or not but as it's not my choice to make, and I found it intriguing, I continued on. As has been said, this isn't the actual journal Charles wrote for Jordan. There are tidbits , a good number, included at certain points in Dana's story. I think where and which Dana chose to include fit very well and that could have made the book go downhill fast if it didn't mesh well with the story. The pictures are outstanding. The very first picture, before the story even starts, a faded picture of Charles holding a baby Jordan is heartbreaking and uplifting at the very same time. I didn't like how, after Charles died, Dana questioned the facts surrounding his death. Let me explain myself here. I'd have also wanted to know and I'd have done some asking on my own. That wasn't the journalist in her, that was her love. But she went, IMO, a few steps too far. I wouldn't have, for instance, questioned his motives in going out on that last convoy. The book shows time and again how dedicated Charles was to his soldiers and the military. (If only all of us were so dedicated to each other and America.) There were a few parts, bringing up two different aspects, that bothered me. One was the sexual parts. I understand that this was probably done for the public and not for Jordan (I hope) but isn't he going to read this? Quite possibly in its entirety? That bothered me and I definitely want to state that she in no way went "over the line"really but hey, parents + sex = icky. It's just not something I'd have ever touched on, not like she did in this book. Does her son, even as a grown man, need to know that she "knew how to touch him when she wanted to quicken their lovemaking". I feel a little bad saying this but.... gross. So that bothered me. Race. It's always race right? Dana and Charles both seemed very non-judgemental but a few times race came up where I felt it shouldn't have. In the beginning of the book she writes that "so many women, especially black women, longed for the affections of an honorable man". Okay. Well I wasn't aware that race had to come into play here. White women don't long for this? Mexican women? Russian women? WHY specify that black women long for this? Why not just women? I'd like to ask her that. In the middle of the book she writes about her birthing classes which she attended with a friend of hers because of Charles being in Iraq. She wouldn't have minded the other women thinking she was lesbian because she didn't want them to think she was "just another pregnant black woman without a man". Wow. How callous. White women don't get pregnant without a man? Newsflash - they do. ALL women do. Another needless race specification and one that showed her insecurities. So much so that she actually stood up to announce the why of his absence. "So many black kids grow up without fathers". Am I supposed to feel more for the black kids? Because white kids grow up without fathers as well. As do kids of any race. Just as kids, black, white and every race in between can grow up with a mother or any other family member. What a stupid utterance and from a woman so obviously intelligent. Dana took offense to the ways the military handled Charles' death benefits. Jordan was born out of wedlock. There are no if, ands, or buts about it. Don't be mad about it. It's nothing personal against you. That's the way it is. Yet she considered herself being treated like "some bimbo with a baby out to get her dead man's money". Well, umm, you weren't married. Hence you not being approached with a flag at the cemetary (another percieved slight). That's about it for what I didn't like. I liked a lot honestly. I love memoirs, the more personal the better. I loved reading all the little details that only a memoir lover can appreciate. I feel like I knew Charles in a way and through this, Dana and Jordan as well. It was very hard to read about how he died. Very hard. Very hard to imagine him, from his pictures, lying on that Iraqi road, bleeding and in shock, with a crushed chest cavity, dying. For his country. One month before coming home. I wish Dana Canedy and Jordan all the luck in the world, they deserve it. Dana was lucky to know love with Charles, because I have no doubt, after reading their words, that theirs was true love. (less)
Even though I'm "only" rating this three stars I really do think it's worth reading. I'm simply trying to be more careful with my four-and-five star r...moreEven though I'm "only" rating this three stars I really do think it's worth reading. I'm simply trying to be more careful with my four-and-five star ratings. For me, this is a three star book about a five star story Ironically, despite my somewhat intense interest in many military related things I found some of this a bit draggy. Damn I hate saying that. I really, really hope people can still see how much I liked this and how happy I am that I read it. There are hard parts but when aren't there with a book like this?The book has a happy ending which means a lot because a lot of the stories coming from places like this end bad, for the dog and the human, whether the dog is a "war dog" or a stray. It's heartbreaking really. Kopelman is very vocal about the people who helped get Lava to the States, even going so far as to give a man he couldn't name the first name 'Sam' and detailing, more than once, what all he did for Lava. Those were some pretty amazing parts. There are a number of places mentioned which would be happy, I'm sure, to receive donations as well and these are the types of places I feel safe handing money over too. I was pleased to see IAMS so involved altogether. It's definitely worth reading, if for no other reasons that to get to know Lava. His story could have ended so much more different than it did if it weren't for the kind and caring humans he happened to encounter. I don't have immediate plans to read the "sequel" - From Baghdad to America: Life Lessons from a Dog Named Lava - but it's on my to-read list and eventually I will get to it.(less)
I'd love to meet this guy and shake his hand. I'm not a cryer... no real reason, I just don't "do" crying from books or movies.... usually. I teared u...moreI'd love to meet this guy and shake his hand. I'm not a cryer... no real reason, I just don't "do" crying from books or movies.... usually. I teared up numerous times while reading this. Putney managed to make me feel like I knew each dog he wrote about. His love for this animals shone like a beacon and that goes right to the heart of any animal lover. I wish I could say that I'd recommend this to anyone but I wouldn't. Almost, but not quite. I think a love of the military or interest in WWII or war in general would be needed. My interest in that war is fairly specific and my areas of interest aren't even mentioned here so I also can't say that it's definite. Putney writes a lot of manuevers, Guam, the bases he and his soldiers were stationed, etc. Basically, things that probably wouldn't interest the average reading looking for a "dog book". But if you can like the "non-dog" parts, or even somehow get through them, to those "dog" sections - you won't be sorry. The pictures, I don't know what to even say about them. Stunning, they were all simply stunning. Putney and some of his men went through so much to give these dogs adequate care during their time in service and what he did for their memory is just out of this world. So many people would have walked away. Instead, much like when we went to war, he walked right into the storm. Not once, not twice, but over and over again and for these dogs no less. Putney is obviously an honest person. There are a few small tidbits in the story that get that across to the reader quickly, things that maybe you or I would have conveniently left out. The reader gets to know his soldiers as well as the dogs and I was grateful for that. These will little more than children. And as we all know, so many never came home. When I stop to think about all of the lives saved because of this brave animals it really is earth-shattering. Without these animals whole groups of lives would have been lost. The fact alone that these animals could learn all that they did and do all that they did is nothing short of amazing. I am a true dog lover and would be the first to say how smart these animals are. My Labs knows words they were never even "taught" - words they just picked up throughout their lives. Actions they just picked up. But the things I found that they learned really stopped me in my tracks and made me think. It hurt my heart deeply to know that this country, who had so easily used these beautiful animals for their own good, destroyed (and this IS the correct word for it - they were destroyed) these heroic dogs on their return. Why? Because they assumed they could not be completely detrained and live a civilian life. When Putney learned of this he didn't just talk, he acted. And he turned the entire thing around and began detraining the very dogs that "couldn't" be detrained. Only 4 dogs out of 559 couldn't be detrained. Less than 1%. So many beautiful heros lost their lives, after saving their humans lives, all because of stupid people. There had been, at the time this was written, no cases of a retired miliatary dog from the war dogs detrained by Putney biting a person or otherwise being a nuisance. It's hard to read in a lot of places. The love these men had for their dogs, for their best friends comes through in everything you read. One handler saw his dog fall down, dead before he hit the ground from a Japanese bullet and, while still under fire, tried to go get his best friend. Putney held him back until it was safe to get him. I just can't imagine it. This is so worth reading, so, so worth reading if you're at all interested. William W. Putney is an amazing man. (less)
The story alone deserves ten stars. These men and women in the military are all heroes to me but the animal lovers among them who are overseas are eve...moreThe story alone deserves ten stars. These men and women in the military are all heroes to me but the animal lovers among them who are overseas are even more so. I can't fathom having to leave a dog like Nubs because the military won't allow pets. I can understand pets get in the way, I can understand the thought process of not wanting the dog (or other animal) to take time and attention away from the matters at hand, you can even go out on a limb and say if that's allowed what about bringing a pet with you once you get orders? I understand all of this. But at the same time, would it be so very hard to try to help the men and women help the animals? Are they so worthless? Maybe, just maybe, by doing it would show others how to properly treat animals. Maybe, just maybe, it would save lives. Not to mention the untold happiness all around. The U.S. can waste money on reality t.v. and diamonds the size of Texas but we can foot the bill to fly a war dog to the U.S. Huh. I'm done ranting. I think. About this story, Brian and Nubs' story deserves far more than five stars. He should win a medal for doing his job and going above and beyond and saving this dog. The reason I didn't give this book - not 'this story', mind you - five stars is because I really didn't care for the layout. I loved, loved, loved, loved the actual photos. The one of Nubs' following Brian's truck as it leaves broke my heart. I'm very, very happy someone thought to include photos of Nubs' after he arrived in America and after Brian returned to him. I think with a book like this, the photos go a long way, especially for a child. Julia was able to look at these pictures and much more easily envision this happening. I watched her as she brought the pages closer to her face and really looked. Thought. And felt. The little side "emails" could have been left out IMO. They didn't add to the story in any way for us. There are a lot of photos of the two of them together and separate and the text isn't too long or two short. Parents can even pare it down a bit if reading it to a younger child. The text is fairly simple also which makes it pretty easy for a beginner reader to read along in some parts. I was over the moon to see that the publisher, Little, Brown & Co., made a donation to the ASPCA in regards to other dogs in Nubs' old situation. It wasn't stated the "normal" way you see this though. I have to think it was a one time donation instead of a portion of the sales from each book. If I thought it was the latter I'd buy ourselves a copy and I'd also probably buy a few for friends. Hopefully the donation wasn't measly because this problem is growing larger every day.(less)