Eliza's Reviews > Loon: A Marine Story
Loon: A Marine Story
8/9/2012: "Loon" is fascinating as much for what it DOESN'T tell as for what it does. McLean published this memoir in 2009, about his experiences as a U.S. Marine during the Vietnam War (1966-69). He says that he leaned heavily on letters he'd written home for a lot of the narrative--which makes sense, since he's writing 40 years after the events he describes. But there is so much he glosses over; while he marvels at the horror and terror and grief he experienced, and even gives some gory detail, he also seems oddly detached from the experience. Some of that can be chalked up to the passage of time--this all happened a long time ago--but he also plainly states that he buried this shit as deep as he could when he returned to civilian life, and he's not about to dredge it up now. Some can also be chalked up to the fact that McLean is not a writer--the writing is a bit stiff and stilted--and he never professes to be. But I do wish the memoir could seem to have been more cathartic, more therapeutic for him. (Who knows, maybe it was. But it doesn't sound like it was.) He manages to tell his story without letting it penetrate the defenses he's had to build up…which makes it almost, but in the end not quite, a satisfying memoir.
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