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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,769 ratings  ·  335 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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3.47  · 
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 ·  1,769 ratings  ·  335 reviews

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Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
"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
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
If somewhere there is a society devoted to bleakness, where to have a bleak outlook is aspired to by all, and the highest virtue is to live life as bleakly as possible, this book should be on their school syllabus. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Life can be bleak. War is always bleak. So it follows that life during war is likely not a fun-filled prance through a flowering meadow. Fobbit is a book set during the recent U.S-led Iraqi conflict, and while there is much humor in the book the p ...more
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Lance Charnes
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of war 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.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
John Sundman
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
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
John Luiz
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll be honest. I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I already knew David Abrams to be a phenomenal writer. And I'd read the glowing reviews and blurbs for this novel and was quick to buy it. But..."an Iraq war comedy"?

But once I began reading, I became engrossed in this story and these ragtag Fobbits. Abrams immerses you in this world. The writing flows seamlessly with sharp dialogue and quick cuts. Abrams knows where to linger and where to just touch base and move on. All the
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Stationed in Iraq, at a heavily fortified military camp in the middle of a war zone, our main protagonist is engaged in constant rewrites with a positive spin on casualty reports, for press releases in the USA. This harrowing satire graphically conveys all the absurdity and soul-destroying nature of the cynical bureaucracy surrounding modern warfare, where gallows humour is the only defence against madness and truth is always the first casualty.

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Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
There's lots of intelligence in the satire of Fobbit. Abrams is an immensely talented writer who knows how to draw the reader in. Where I stumbled with Fobbit, is that there didn't seem to be a strong sense of purpose. At times, the novel felt satirical for satire's sake. That said, Abrams does an excellent job of evoking a sense of place and exposing the absurdities of war and how no matter how mighty an army may be, it is still comprised of mere mortals of men.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s no Catch 22, but it’ll do.
Hypocrisy, Peter’s Law in action, the fatalism that dominates the psyches of soldiers in war, deliberate obfuscation, and pointless death are the themes that tumble and disappear from the page before they fully form. Fobbit seems to want to follow in the footsteps of vehement anti-war media that comes before it, but it falls short. It’s horrific, but not as much so as Full Metal Jacket. It’s funny, but not laugh out loud hilarious like Catch 22, it shows that war
Markham Pyle
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: military
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
Dec 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Erika Robuck
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read in the past year.

Of course, I should say that as an Operation Iraqi Freedom vet from 2005 - when this book is set - I'm the target (ahem) demographic for this.

That said, this captures perfectly my deployment experience, so much so that I was almost beginning to reach for my own rifle, travel around the AO, and decide if I really want to go to the daily BUB...

As a Fobbit myself, this is a perfect picture of the non-door kickers life. Obviously there is SOME (though
Robert Wechsler
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
The first half of Fobbit is one of the best satires I’ve read since Paul Beatty’s The Sellout. This satire of the American military in Iraq features excellent writing (Abrams has a much better ear than most writers of satire, who too often focus on content and dialogue), graphic violence (intended to get under your skin, to put you in the protagonists’ place and to make it clear that this is more tragedy than comedy), and a range of protagonists who, for the most part, do not interact too much.

Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-now
An incompetent bit of hackwork, chock-full-o' risible metaphors and analogies which, though they are obvious by virtue of being so dumb, the author is sure to explain and repeat. And probably repeat again.

I say this based on two chapters, which is the most one can reasonably expect me to read.

It is, perhaps, well intended. I deduce that its purpose is to express some of the frustration felt by the better soldiers who were thrust into harms way in service of an ill-conceived mission and who feel
Mindy McGinnis
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Shawn Towner
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
David Patneaude
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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David Abrams is the author of the novels Brave Deeds (Grove/Atlantic, 2017) and Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic, 2012). Fobbit was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, an Indie Next pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a Montana Honor Book, and a finalist for the L.A. Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Abrams' short stories have appeared in Esquire, Glimmer T ...more
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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.” 5 likes
“Life for him was a constant balancing act between disrespect and career preservation.” 0 likes
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