Friday, June 29, 2012

Something Like Normal - Trish Doller

Synopsis: When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero. (From Goodreads)

This novel is small, but man alive is it a powerhouse of emotion, relevance, and meaning. It's told from Travis's point of view, so only the necessary information and thoughts go into the book - there's no over-thinking or flowery prose that often come with female protagonists. The sparse narrative made the story much more immediate and the emotion so raw.

Trish Doller did an amazing job with Travis's emotions. Like so many boys I know, he doesn't like to talk about his emotions. He does better with using his actions either mask how he's feeling or to really show it. I could see where he was trying to set his feelings aside and I could see where he was putting them right out in the open. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how she pulled this off so wonderfully, but that's probably the genius of it.

It's also wonderful that not everything was resolved or tied up in nice bows by the end. This book is a snapshot of Travis's life - we only get to see a few weeks when he's home. And that isn't enough time to fix everything that's wrong. It's about taking things one step at a time, one day at a time. The love story was great and beautiful, but it functioned more as a part of the healing process than as its own story line. It was understated and it made it feel private. Harper came in to show Travis that he's still human and he can still love.

Then there's Travis's home life. Which is way screwed up. His father and brother are a couple pieces of work, holy moses. Plenty of dysfunction there. But Travis's mother is such an incredibly strong and beautiful character. I don't think there was a page that she was on that I wasn't a sobbing mess. Her son is out fighting for his country, and she is at home fighting for her son. She gives insight into what it's like to be the family of a soldier and if you're off at war, you want someone like her on your side. Travis does a lot of stupid things once he gets back, but I knew deep down he was a great person just from the way he treated his mother. That story line gives me goosebumps, it's so gorgeous.

My point is, read this book. It won't take you long and it's so important, especially in this world we live in. Even if you don't know a marine or someone with PTSD, I think it's worth it to know what could possibly be going through their minds or why they could be acting the way they do. Travis is an amazing character and he represents so many amazing people who are fighting this war, who come back and have to deal. For all those people, here is one voice calling out to be heard.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I totally dug Travis's range of emotions. I really felt for him and what he was going through. It made his whole situation seem more real than it ever did to me outside of this book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow. This book sounds amazing, and it seems like a book that everyone should read just because of the subjects that are brought up... If that makes sense?

    Thanks for the review, I'll definitely be picking this book up soon!

    ReplyDelete

Friday, June 29, 2012

Something Like Normal - Trish Doller

Synopsis: When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero. (From Goodreads)

This novel is small, but man alive is it a powerhouse of emotion, relevance, and meaning. It's told from Travis's point of view, so only the necessary information and thoughts go into the book - there's no over-thinking or flowery prose that often come with female protagonists. The sparse narrative made the story much more immediate and the emotion so raw.

Trish Doller did an amazing job with Travis's emotions. Like so many boys I know, he doesn't like to talk about his emotions. He does better with using his actions either mask how he's feeling or to really show it. I could see where he was trying to set his feelings aside and I could see where he was putting them right out in the open. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how she pulled this off so wonderfully, but that's probably the genius of it.

It's also wonderful that not everything was resolved or tied up in nice bows by the end. This book is a snapshot of Travis's life - we only get to see a few weeks when he's home. And that isn't enough time to fix everything that's wrong. It's about taking things one step at a time, one day at a time. The love story was great and beautiful, but it functioned more as a part of the healing process than as its own story line. It was understated and it made it feel private. Harper came in to show Travis that he's still human and he can still love.

Then there's Travis's home life. Which is way screwed up. His father and brother are a couple pieces of work, holy moses. Plenty of dysfunction there. But Travis's mother is such an incredibly strong and beautiful character. I don't think there was a page that she was on that I wasn't a sobbing mess. Her son is out fighting for his country, and she is at home fighting for her son. She gives insight into what it's like to be the family of a soldier and if you're off at war, you want someone like her on your side. Travis does a lot of stupid things once he gets back, but I knew deep down he was a great person just from the way he treated his mother. That story line gives me goosebumps, it's so gorgeous.

My point is, read this book. It won't take you long and it's so important, especially in this world we live in. Even if you don't know a marine or someone with PTSD, I think it's worth it to know what could possibly be going through their minds or why they could be acting the way they do. Travis is an amazing character and he represents so many amazing people who are fighting this war, who come back and have to deal. For all those people, here is one voice calling out to be heard.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, I totally dug Travis's range of emotions. I really felt for him and what he was going through. It made his whole situation seem more real than it ever did to me outside of this book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh wow. This book sounds amazing, and it seems like a book that everyone should read just because of the subjects that are brought up... If that makes sense?

    Thanks for the review, I'll definitely be picking this book up soon!

    ReplyDelete