Sep 05, 12
Read from August 24 to September 04, 2012
This book's got it all: love, war and football. Isn't that all a book needs in order to be a "great American novel?"
It's got some pretty great writing, too, some very lovely and philosophical passages that take what could be a bit of a tired theme (How we reconcile and justify our consumer society against the greater backdrop of the Iraq war) and elevate it to something more -- something great.
The main story takes place all during one day, although plenty of flashbacks fill in the gaps and help create a narrative out of a premise that at first seemed, to me, to be better suited to a short story format. In some ways, this novel feels like a long short story, a day in the life of Billy Lynn. He's a famous (due to some gritty Fox News footage) Iraq war hero who is being used by the Bush administration as a pawn to shore up support for the war. The day of the story, he and his squad are to be honored during halftime of a Dallas Cowboys game. The dark humor and original writing style were highlights for me, and the only real misstep, in my opinion, was a too-long flashback illustrating Lynn's dysfunctional family life.
On a side note, if you are interested in reading this book, I don't recommend reading the Goodreads description, as it gives far too much away (in my opinion).