Laura Engelken's Reviews > Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
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's review
Aug 19, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2012

I sought out this book after listening to an interview with the author on NPR's "All Things Considered." It sounded like a compelling story. A young man returns from Iraq a hero, having been captured on film taking the lead in a deadly firefight. The footage airs on network television and inspires the nation, so much so that Billy Lynn and his unit are called back from the field for a PR victory tour of the States. So we spend the day with Billy and Bravo company as they are special guests at the Dallas Cowboys stadium for a Thanksgiving Day football game.

The saving element that kept me with the book was every now and then getting an illuminating glimpse of the internal world and reflections of 19 year old Billy Lynn. But mostly the prose was a chaotic, profanity-filled mess. I'm aware this was an intentional stylistic choice by the author, however it didn't work for me. I found it clunky and distracting, as opposed to effectively in creating a "mood." In this regard, I feel James Frey was much more effective in evoking a frenetic energy with his unconventional writing style in "A Million Little Pieces."
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