July 26, 2007

I just read this memoir of a female soldier, Kayla Williams, "Love my Rifle more than You." I thought it might be good for my students. I don't really recommend spending your time on it unless you are really studying the war, it is only ok, not a well written or particularly interesting book. She fought for a year in Iraq, serving as an interpreter for the 101st Airborne.

Even if her insights seems rather thin, it is always worthwhile to hear about individual war experiences. And the perspective of a woman in the Army was a new one too. It is interesting to hear her experiences with inappropriate male soldiers, but since she is evidently bright and capable, you do have to wonder how typical her experience is (there are several stories in here about woman with much looser standards in the service) Her persona in the book (and maybe life, who knows) is a bit too too-tuff.

There are a few intriguing bits when she witnesses some rough interrogations and muses about them, but they are fleeting moments. She does have this good line in her section discussing the difficulties of transitioning back to the states: "How was I willing to go and die for these fucking people who wear sweatshirts with little kittens on them."

Overall the book is a bit of a slog, overly colloquial so as to be grating, and it lacks the humor, grace, and drive of Colby Buzzell's 'My War, which is still the best Iraq war book from the soldier's point of view. Buzzell is funny and sharp and a good writer, whereas Williams is a tiresome writer given to short fragmentary sentences for emphasis. Like this one. Used a lot.

And she uses one sentence paragraphs.

A lot.

You can imagine how grating this gets.

This war still awaits its true scribe. Its not those Undismayed has discussed before (Nathaniel Fick, Christopher Hartley, or John Crawford) and it isn't Williams either.

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