Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
This is going to be a hard revue. I have never seen the movie and being
one to be influenced by the critics I just took it for granted that it
was a bad movie and book and I wouldn't like either. So I found the
book at our small library and decided I would go ahead and read it.
It didn't take me long to feel like I was right there with the author in
many of the same situations he was in. Twentynine Palms, California in
the 80's, check, Camp Hansen, Okinawa in the 80's, check, The Kinville
bar district outside of Camp Hansen in the 80's (Just being honest, also
last place I ever drank alcohol), check, knuckleheaded Marines, check
and double check.
Some of the situations he describes I have personally known Marines that
experienced the same. Coming home from Okinawa to an empty house or
some other Marine living in your house? Yes, I knew Marines that
through that. I remember a Marine telling me that his wife worked at a
certain bar in Twentynine Palms and that she was the bartender. Another
Marine kind of pulled me to the side and asked me if his wife's name was
such and such and worked at this certain bar which I said yes. He told
me that his wife had been sleeping around and that someone else lives in
his house. I was naive and thought it must be someone else. Well he
shipped back not long after that and it couldn't have been 48 hours
after we saw him that he called a friend in Okinawa crying and said that
his house was empty and his wife had moved in with another man.
Drunken nights and fights in Kinville? I may not have experienced the
fights but certainly seen one or two spill out of a bar.
Some other things that the author has seen in Okinawa, sadly I must
admit I have stumbled upon them myself.
But back to the book. Did I find it vulgar, absolutely, but believe me,
nothing less than I experienced in the Marines. Did I find it over
exaggerated in some parts, of course. I'm sure the author took a
certain liberty to enhance his strengths and weaknesses. Did I find it
poorly edited? Yes, many Marines will take fault with some of the dialog.
So whats my call? Good read or not? I am going to take the unusual and
first time stance of no call. I won't say yes or no.