Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 book 304

Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
I wasn't interested in reading this book--I'd get as far as "Iraq War" in the description, think "dude book," and my interest would just shut off, but one of my friends' husbands really wanted someone to talk about it with and I hate letting people down, so . . . I mean, it's a good book, I totally get why it's gotten so many raves, award nominations, etc, but it is the dude-iest of dude books. It's about a 19-year-old soldier whose squad has done some heroic thing (not entirely explained) and now they're on a two-week Victory Tour (it's the Bush years) before being sent back to Iraq (which the titular Billy has very mixed feelings about). Basically all the action takes place at a Dallas Cowboys game, though, except for occasional flashbacks to Iraq and a brief flashback interlude involving Billy's two-night family visit. I was into it at first--Billy is very vividly drawn--but like halfway through, their interactions with the football players, and the movie producer trying to make a deal for their story, and the gross rich Texans they can barely tolerate, and all the macho posturing dude-talk about Beyonce just got to be a little much for me. And that's not even really getting into the gender stuff (especially the cheerleader that Billy has a thing for--is it supposed to be romantic?). It's very well-written and deserving of awards, but this is a manly book for men. B/B+.

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