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336 pages, Hardcover
First published August 14, 2018
So, firstly I just want to say that I don't understand why people think this is a book about missiles. It says right there in the title that it is about growing up. Sure, it's about growing up in a particular place, but it unequivocally states that this is a book about "growing up." Honestly, if it had been a book about missiles I'd have been quite irritated at having been mislead. I signed up for a memoir, & that's exactly what I received. Really can not grasp what was so unclear to other readers.
As far as this book goes, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it. It's not like any other memoir I've come across. I noticed the difference in the honest goals of the scientific employees, as opposed to the military. The obvious despair that the scientists went through when they began to piece together that perhaps the military was not an honorable institution was of note. In that time period such thinking was not so common, so it had to be quite a thing for logical persons' psyches to try and process. Of particular interest was info. toward the end pulled from the declassified files, as well as from a convo. w/ an elderly former military man who had left the program amidst controversy. That info. points to directly to what can be surmised as no less than heinous & straight-up evil fuckery by the gov. that continues today & screws the entire globe, very much in line w/ the military-industrial complex warnings of Eisenhower. So, yeah. Pretty interesting stuff, right there.
That said, I do have a few complaints. There are a few statements that need to be re-written, b/c they are just wrong. Firstly, (p.67) she states that Catholics worship the Pope. What utterly obvious bologna. F'ing no, Catholics do not worship the Pope. If you are going to make distinctive statements of fact about someone else's belief system, maybe bother to verify it first. For something so easy to check, this is unforgivable. Ask any Catholic, or maybe, idk, use the bloody internet. Second, (p. 69) the Beatles did not say they were, "better than Jesus." Ffs, already. This one is particularly annoying b/c later on in the book it is correctly referenced as Lennon having said that they were more popular than Jesus. (Side note: they still are.) Now, here's the thing. It is possible that the author meant to write both of these as something like, "the preacher had told us," or "my Mother thought," or some other such thing that would change the aforementioned problematic statements from being simply definitive into something more like explanations of someone's thinking at the time. I honestly was unsure what might have been meant, b/c I was trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt, being that I read those things fairly early on in the book, & it is an ARC. However, as I got further into the book, I found that I kept coming across areas where the writing was just not all that clear, or didn't flow in a way that kept things clear. From someone that studied literature & writing (as the author claims to have done), this is really unacceptable.
See, the thing is, stuff like that makes it harder to believe the more serious info. one might glean from the book. It makes it all too easy for one already inclined to do so, to dismiss any info. in here that they simply don't like & therefore don't want to even consider accepting as possibly accurate. It's not an inconsequential problem. So, despite actually enjoying this read, I have to seriously knock off stars. I mean, I think the word for it, sadly, is sloppy. It's too bad, but the fact is that despite all the potential goodness in here, the execution really went full Sidewinder & just spun out into the equivalent of that cliche about shooting oneself in the foot. It needs work. It'd be totally worth it to clean up what remaining issues there are here & put it out in better form. As it stands now though, it's just not a clear piece of work, & the obvious inaccuracies make everything else presented suspect, which is just a shame. Walking away from it, I feel like I just want better for this. It's an odd feeling.
P.S.: That stuff about Amway & the DeVos family was something else. Capitalist Pyramid Scheme Jesus is now in the U.S. Dept. of Ed. Combined with the other info. presented there is so much in here that people don't need to be confused about, or given the easy opportunity to dismiss w/o checking deeper into it, so please, please, please fix the problems. I'll come back to give this all the stars, alter the review, & recommend it to everyone if I find the problems have been handled.