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Where Courage and Moral Fortitude Are Needed, Spinelessness Abounds,
This review is from: Fobbit (Paperback)
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David Abrams spent twenty years in the military and was in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He uses his experience to show a dark side of that war that we were never supposed to see in his novel Fobbit, which is a literary masterpiece for many reasons. First, you forget you're reading literature of the highest order because Abrams, using pungent, concise, concrete language, ushers you into the complex, in turns hilarious and infuriating world of American Fobbits, military and service people stationed in Iraq who avoid "combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom." As Abrams describes it in perfect prose: "They were Fobbits because, at the core, they were nothing but marshmallow. Crack open their chests and in the space where their hearts should be beating with a warrior's courage and selfless regard, you'd find a pale, gooey center."
The spineless characters who populate this book will enrage and infuriate the reader as they scan the internet for engagement rings, eat Hostess Ding Dongs and look for clandestine places to fornicate as the real soldiers are dying horrible deaths from IEDs.
Second, the book succeeds at a purely entertainment level reminding me of a Christopher Guest mockumentary. The plot juxtaposes the agony of the real war outside the gates and the banality and cowardice of those bathing in the comforts within the compound.
Third, Fobbit is a morally necessary book that takes a critical look at war and the way politicians spin the war to make it palatable for American citizens. As such, Fobbit is a moral, anti-BS book and Fobbit fills the bill to the a T. One of its major themes is how public relations director Chance Gooding Jr. spends his time cowering in his cubicle writing war propaganda while deep down loathing himself and the operation he claims to champion. Abrams describes Gooding as a well insulated coward: "With his neat-pressed uniform, his lavender-vanilla body wash, and the dust collected around the barrel of his M16 rifle, he was the poster child for the stay-back-stay-safe soldier. The smell of something sweet radiated off his skin--as if he bathed in gingerbread." I was spellbound by these nuggets of perfectly crafted, scornful, at times sarcastic description that fill this novel and show the narrator's contempt for bull****. In fact, as I read this novel I kept thinking of a slim best-selling nonfiction book by philosopher Harry Frankfurt called On Bull****.
Fobbit is a great companion piece to a book about the way we become numb to all the bull that inundates us everyday. Fobbit is a novel that cuts through the bull that neatly and sweetly packages absurd, hypocritical, often morally bankrupt wars and it is done in a way that is not preachy. This novel is real, concrete, and has the power of someone who has been there, in the deepest recesses, and has survived to tell us the true tale.