Cassy's Reviews > From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

From Baghdad, With Love by Jay Kopelman
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Jun 21, 2009

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bookshelves: physical-borrowed, flavor-animals, 2009, non-fiction-general, region-middle-east, non-fiction-biography
Recommended to Cassy by: Jennifer Strait
Recommended for: Dog lovers, Americans who are curious about the situation in Iraq
Read in November, 2009

Oh man. I should not have read this book right now! I am currently in delicate negotiations with my husband about getting a puppy. And this book only heightens my I-want-a-dog-now fervor. See, dear husband – dogs are great! Even in the middle of war-torn Iraq, a U.S. Marine grew attached to a rambunctious puppy named Lava and undertook the arduous process of getting Lava to the U.S. If Kopelman can fall in love with a dog in those dire circumstances, you too can fall in love with a new puppy in our peaceful townhouse!

Anyways. The book is very touching and easy to read. I do have some critiques: The writing style is too colloquial and choppy for my taste. The changes in point-of-view away from Kopelman are ineffective. And I get the impression that Kopelman fits the military guy stereotype of being emotionally removed. I can just imagine his co-author sitting across the table from him, shaking her head at his practical step-by-step summary and pleading with him to talk about his feelings. He does expose himself. Bravo for that. But sometimes I still wanted more and/or got lost in his explanations of how he felt.

Yet, overall, I am happy to have read this one. I really appreciate the no-frills insight he provided into the situation in Iraq, as well as the little tidbits about dogs’ historic and present role in warfare. Although, sometimes the book veers a tad too far from the focus on Lava with these detours. Then it operates more as journalistic overview of the conflict in Iraq than a tight memoir. But I am willing to forgive this, because I see the necessity of setting the backdrop of danger at every corner and serving as a good ambassador for the U.S. troops (and dogs) in Iraq.

And as an avid listener of all things National Public Radio (NPR), I am pleased to read how helpful their staff was in securing Lava’s well-being. Maybe I will give more money next pledge drive - even forgo the complimentary coffee mug!

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Erma (new) - added it

Erma Odrach Lava is so cute, can't resist picking this one up. Dogs never get enough credit for the incredible work they do.


Cassy Agreed on both counts! I hope you enjoy it!


Jennifer Whatever you do... Don't let Leo read Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog!!


message 4: by Leonardo (new)

Leonardo Duenas-Osorio The book story and context seem very interesting. I will read it, although not right now, to learn more about the kind of experiences that dogs bring to humans. Thank you for the hints on owning a dog as well… But, Cassy, we are still discovering how to deal with our cats! Let’s complete this phase first.

I will preferably read "Homer's Odyssey" and continue our feline leash and play training prior to embarking on dogs.



Cassy Leo, I agree about reading the other cat book and continuing to play with our cats. Yet, I hope the puppy discussion is still open.


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