Author: Colby Buzzell
Source: bought on Amazon
Expert from Goodreads:
An underemployed, skateboarding party animal, Colby Buzzell traded a dead-end future for the army—and ended up as a machine gunner in Iraq. To make sense of the absurd and frightening events surrounding him, he started writing a blog about the war—and how it differed from the government’s official version. But as his blog’s popularity grew, Buzzell became the embedded reporter the Army couldn’t control—despite its often hilarious efforts to do so. The result is an extraordinary narrative, rich with unforgettable scenes: the Iraqi woman crying uncontrollably during a raid on her home; the soldier too afraid to fight; the troops chain-smoking in a guard tower and counting tracer rounds; the first, fierce firefight against the “men in black.” Drawing comparisons to everything from Charles Bukowski to Catch-22, My War depicts a generation caught in a complicated and dangerous world—and marks the debut of a raw, remarkable new voice.
I read this book for my Literature and War class.
I was excited, perhaps the more correct term is intrigued, to start reading a first hand account on the war in Iraq. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the war in Iraq and still don’t claim to be any sort of expert. It was a subject I decided to stay blissfully ignorant of but I am happy I got the chance to read this story and get a better understanding of what American soldiers went through and are still going through in Iraq.
Parts of this story were actual blog post written while Colby was in Iraq, others are diary entries, and in between Colby added extra anecdotes and information to help the narrative flow more naturally. I should also mention that this book contains a lot of explicit language. If it was made into a movie it would definitely get an ‘R’ rating for language, violence, and some drug use.
I think it is appropriate to start off this review by re-quoting myself from a comment I left on Goodreads immediately after I had finished this book. “I found myself reading this and after ever page thinking, wow. It was really insightful and at times highly amusing.”
I will say that I’m a bit disappointed in myself and the fact that I waited so long to write this review. But life (aka midterms) got in the way, so I’ll try my best to accurately convey my feelings for this book.
I learned a lot about a soldier’s experiences over in Iraq, many of which left me in awe of the men and women fighting for our country. Some of the accounts were inspiring while others were a bit disheartening. These reactions were understandable when you consider how honest Colby is in his retelling of the events. At times I was laughing, bored, and scared to death and experiencing many of the same emotions Colby had lived through. There is no way I can ever understand what it feels like to be shot at or what it feels like to have sweat running down into my eyes and be unable to move, but through reading this, I feel more knowledgeable and empathetic.
As the novel progresses Colby discusses his love of music, art and books. He is a very intelligent human being which came in stark contrast to the beginning of the novel’s image of Colby which was a hometown stoner. One of the books mentioned is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I read this book almost two years ago for a Humanities class and fell in love with it. I’ve highlighted all my favorite passages and keep this book on my desk at all times. I flip through it almost every day when I feel like I need a reality check or a little motivation. I think everyone should read this book at least once and I highly recommend it.
Colby is an amazing writer and his descriptions made me feel like I was in the middle of the action, or in some cases non action. It was a really unique perspective and I’m very appreciative of him for writing this account for the world to read.
I really did enjoy reading this book and had so many wow moments while reading. I have a million little sticky notes highlight my favorite parts or the things I found to be the most interesting.
I would recommend this book to someone who wants (for the most part) an unbiased, non partisan account of his life and journey to becoming a soldier.
If my review hasn’t convinced you to read this book, my apologies. Like I said earlier I should’ve reviewed this book when it was fresh in my mind because since then I’ve taken midterms and had to read many other novels and textbooks and everything has started to blend together. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Colby Buzzell is a really unique, funny, and honest individual whose work and life deserves an audience.