Claudia's Reviews > Something like Normal

Something like Normal by Trish Doller
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's review
Jul 31, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-book-challenge-160-books, ya-books
Read in July, 2012

I'll admit, I was really skeptical...a book about a Marine on leave from Afghanistan? By a female writer? Would she get it right? Oh, yes. She did.

I read in the acknowledgments that she really did her homework...lots of reading, lots of interviews. That is why this is pitch-perfect.

Young men -- and women -- join the military for many reasons, and few of those reasons sustain them through the horrifying reality of war. Travis just needed to be away from his overbearing father and his snotty brother. What he finds in Afghanistan are brothers...other young men who get it...who understand the fractured hell he's living through. But what if...

After a tragedy, Travis is back home, with none of those issues that drove him away resolved. His father's still a jerk. His brother's now dating Travis's ex, and has ruined Travis's car. "That pretty much sums up our relationship: I have it. He wants it. He gets it. He ruins it." Unfortunately, Travis has come back with a full-blown case of PTSD and a heaping bowl of guilt. Peaceful homecoming is not in the cards.

But Harper, another girl who shares history with Travis, shakes him up, shakes him loose from his lethargy. He'll need all her support in order to find the honesty to make himself ready to return to Afghanistan, with all the horrors...all the uncertainty.

This should be required reading for any young person who is toying with joining the military...I believe Doller has gotten to a deep truth here about what it's like to carry all the memories, all the experiences, all the heartbreak and the laughter, all this baggage forward into a life after war.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jackie (new)

Jackie This is going to start out sounding really awkward and slightly stalkerish, so I apologize in advance. You don't know me, but we have a mutual friend- Elise Robillard. I am a former student of hers. For whatever reason, when I joined Goodreads, they suggested I follow you. When I saw that you taught a course on reading for pleasure, I was intrigued. As an English major who spends more time reading The Hunger Games and The Fault in our Stars than Austen or Dickens, I wish I had been able to take your class. I really appreciate your reviews. (I've wanted to tell you that for a while, but I always worried it'd be too weird.)

Anyway, all that to say that if you like this, I wonder how you might like a book I'm currently reading- I'll Meet you There by Heather Demetrios. (The first five chapters of which you can read here: Like Travis, the main male character, Josh, is a Marine returning home following a tragedy in Afghanistan. It's a split POV, with most of the chapters written from the other main character's perspective, but short chapters from Josh are sprinkled throughout. I'll be interested to see how Josh's voice compares to Travis's when I get around to reading this book.

Claudia Hi, Jackie. It sounds like we would have had a great time in class together. I am interested in this book, but swamped. Will see if I can get it on amazon. Thanks for following my reviews. I started doing this when I was teaching, to model responses to books that were not especially academic summaries or analyses. Now I do this for me!!

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