Leroy Kervin is a 31 year old Iraqi War veteran living with a traum ...more
In-your-face-simple realistic writing..
dialogue so real - it’s like I wasn’t reading at all...
I also felt like I was hit by a Mac Truck!
Words that ran through my head when I finished this easy reading dreary gloomy book was:
“Life’s hard and then you die”. Depressing? Yep.. you got the idea!
It’s a good book - don’t get me wrong....but not an ounce of it was upbeat.
At one point while reading, I suddenly wondered just why this book had been titled The F ...more
My review is up at the L.A. Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/pa... ...more
What a very touching and well written story. What stands out in this story is the kindness and compassion these people show when dealing with others. They have ...more
It’s not that I need “happy” but these characters could not draw me in.
The sci-fi scenes were a needless distraction from whatever story there was. The main storyline was underdeveloped and minimalist.
The Most Realistic Dream Descriptions I've Read
A superbly unique narrative via the perspectives of three characters, one primarily via an allegorical dream.
The first character, Leroy, suffered brain trauma from a roadside bomb in Iraq, and is basically an invalid staying at a "second-rate group home for disabled men" in the State of Washington.
The three converge at the hospital where Leroy was taken upon falling down a flight of stairs at the group home after having a momentary stat ...more
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, are we really all that free…or all that brave? The Free is a hymn of sorts to the working-class American…the man or woman who grew up placing one foot in front of the other, ever hopeful, ever courageous, despite being left behind in the dust. The characters are so authentic and big-hearted – the dialogue so pitch-perfect and real – that I wanted to leap into the pages and give them a hug. Willy Vlautin has placed his finger on the pulse of Amer ...more
How can a story about good people in difficult, even dire circumstances, be the slightest bit uplifting? I think it’s because when you meet these characters, people like Freddie, Pauline, Leroy, and even Leroy’s mother Darla… you can see all the cards stacked against them. You can see how easy it w ...more
Thanks to The Willoughby Book Club for sending this book my way
This was a quiet reading experience, capturing everyday life through the actions of the characters. Following three perspectives: A paralyzed ex-military (Leroy) on the verge of suicide, A nurse (Pauline) who tends to Leroy after his suicide leaves his health at a critical state but we also see how disconnected Pauline is and her complex relationship with her father and the patients at the hospital. We also follow Leroy's home atten...more
There is Leroy Kerwin, a young man and National Guard volunteer, who was sent to Afghanistan after 9/11. He was hit by and IED and is suffering extreme traumatic brain injury. He lives in a group home and his mind is clouded and he can't perform his activities of daily living. One day, inexplicably, his mind clears an ...more
Riveting, entertaining. ...more
The book follows three main protagonists, whose lives intersect as they struggle to find the courage, decency and strength to combat the raw deal life has thrown at them. It opens with Leroy K ...more
I didn't like the Leroy hallucination sequences...Hence four instead of five stars. Thanks to my GR friend Will for introducing me to Willy and his likeable but downtrodden cast. Four boo ...more
But it's so heartbreakingly humane and matter-of-fact and hopeful in the face of tragedy that it leaves you feeling unsettlingly lighthearted, if more than a little sad.
Vlautin's writing is sharp and uncomplicated, portraying scenes and actions in a way that is almost mechanical and with no time wasted on descriptions of feelings, but those scenes and actions are so steeped in significance that it all comes across more clearly than if every emotion were made explicit a ...more
The three main characters (heroes) in this book are what makes all of the above somewhat ...more
Leroy, Freddie and Pauline are all struggling to stay afloat, to break free to overcome their demons – emotional, spiritual and physical. Vlautin does a wonderful job of presenting their circumstances and strengths even in light of their challenges. ...more
Vlautin has been lauded as a modern Steinbeck, and in The Free he more than meets the hype such a tag in his portrayal of three small town underdogs-Leroy Kervin, a National Guardsman in a care home after suffering a brain injury following an insurgent attack in Iraq, Freddie McCall, working two jobs and in a spiral of uncontrollable debt as a result of medical bills accrued due to insurance not covering medical procedures on his in ...more
First, there is Leroy Kervin, brain damaged six months after the deployment of his National Guard unit to Iraq. He was only 24 when injured. Years have passed. A fleeting moment of awareness, the first since his injury, confronts him with the zombie-li ...more
Published in the US, several European and Asian countries, Vlautin's first book ...more