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The Phony Marine: A Novel Paperback – April 8, 2008
Doubt (Caroline Auden)
Newbie lawyer Caroline Auden risks her life to expose a biotech giant’s deadly secrets. Learn More
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Hugo Marder failed to realize either of his two big dreams. He never joined the Marines, and he didn't become a cartoonist. Instead of serving in Vietnam when he was eligible, he took advantage of a college deferment to avoid the draft. And cartooning gave way to a predictable lifestyle selling men's clothing in Washington DC. Now, Hugo's a fiftysomething divorced guy whose average existence is wearing him down. However, things change after an impulse online purchase of a Silver Star award for combat valor.
When the medal arrives, Hugo decides to wear its lapel pin while strolling around the city. Usually he blends right in. But the pin makes him stand out. People acknowledge Hugo with respectful nods and outright praise. He even scores a complimentary meal at a local restaurant. These positive reactions galvanize Hugo to take on the persona of the Marine he's always longed to be. He shaves his head, gets fit with a Marine Corps workout, learns the lingo, and constructs a fictitious military back-story. But how long can Hugo's deception go undiscovered - especially when he becomes a real hero?
"The Phony Marine" is a lean and mean read. I wish it were longer because I wanted to see Hugo go even deeper with some of the philosophical issues behind his charade. However, I was still caught up with Hugo's quest for a meaningful life.Read more ›
The setting is a large urban area, and the man works selling men's suits and accessories. The men's clothing descriptions are very detailed and given too much weight in this novel, at least for me. I found the tiny details of fashion and clothing took away from the development of what could have been a better story.
Perhaps in some quarters there are people who notice lapel pins, but I would not be one of them. I am not sure how many people would be able to identify the various lapel pins, but I am sure some people do do that.
The status given to the phony marine, as he wears the lapel pin, makes him reconsider how he lives his life, and what is important. He tries to make himself into a "former Marine" but in the end the charade comes to a climax. (Try to avoid spoiler here).
I found the characters rather superficial. The setting was detailed about the clothing people wore, but otherwise lacked character development. None of the characters seemed realistic to me at all. Dialogue was only adequate, and seemed forced at times.
the premise, that when someone is thought to be a certain way, they will then act in that way, was promising. And the topic of people lying about military service is important. "The Phony Marine" just did not take those interesting concepts and develop them very well.
"The Phony Marine" only gets a C- from me.
Lehrer, a former Marine, understands his character, (perhaps honed by years of interviewing individuals who are in a constant state of transition), and the grand tableau, Washington, DC, upon which he sets his story. Hugo's wife Emily is a particularly compelling character resembling say about 10 million people that I have met while residing in Washington keenly aware of her need to live vicariously through the Congressman, Senator, or cabinet member that she serves all the while having totally lost her direction in life. In a manner the author suggests that perhaps Hugo Marder is less of a loser than one would want to believe. At least he figured out what it is he should have been and in the grand scheme of things self-actualization before death is a victory.
Hugo Marder (perhaps Hugo Marder = You go Murder) steals a dead man's glory. A crime? Not sure you decide. But my guess is Second Lt. Ronald Derby Cunningham would have been proud in an odd way to help save another life. Inspiration comes from many areas and in a world that has become increasingly reliant on technology, it was only a matter of time before you could buy it on EBay. Semper Fi.
Weapons Plt. 0331
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very entertaining ! Well written, interesting main character.Published 12 months ago by anthony corsi
Jim Lehrer, best known as the host of PBS's NewsHour is also an author of fiction (and a former Marine). Read morePublished on February 26, 2013 by DWD's Reviews
I suppose I'm on a Jim Lehrer marathon now, after reading "No Certain Rest" and "Mack to the Rescue. Read morePublished on August 10, 2010 by Joseph H. Race
I was an enlisted Marine for six years, from 1986 to 1992, so I certainly understand the brotherhood of the Corps. I also admire Jim Lehrer enormously as a journalist on PBS. Read morePublished on November 1, 2009 by Carol Storm
I wish I could unread this novel. Jim Lehrer's characters are one-dimensional and pathetic.Published on September 15, 2008 by Joshua Hart
Having read novels by Jim Lehrer before, this reader expected something better than this novel offers. Read morePublished on May 14, 2008 by Thomas P. Meyjes
This has all the makings of a great book -- great idea, decent characters, solid plot and very good writing. Read morePublished on September 1, 2007 by L. Charles Wimer III
It's a Must Read for every former Marine and all those men and women -- who would have liked to be a Marine.Published on August 12, 2007 by Donald R. Fraser
In "The Phony Marine" author Jim Lehrer tells the story of a Walter Mitty type character who had settled into a mundane life as a 50-year old divorced clothing salesman in... Read morePublished on May 27, 2007 by H. J. Rossi