57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
A Moving Memoir,
This review is from: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War (Hardcover)
A stunning first effort; I loved this book! I don't usually read books in the military genre, but I loved this one. "The War I Always Wanted" is a moving memoir of a young man's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it's really even larger than that. It's more of a "coming-of-age" story. Friedman is a skillful young writer who does not lose his readers in military terminology, acronyms, or long descriptions of maneuvers and strategy. This is a much more personal story. More than once I found myself with tears in my eyes as I empathized with what was happening not just to him but to other characters in his story (his mother, for example). His descriptions put you right in the middle of the scene (the marathon march in Afghanistan...), yet he is equally adept in making you feel for yourself the range of emotions he goes through (the girl with the rose). The conclusion is fabulous; again, he alienates no one. Young adults will even be moved by Friedman's story; I plan to use the book in my high-school classroom as part of a larger unit with also includes writings by Tim O'brien (a writer Friedman eclipses, in my opinion.) One of the best things about this book, I think, is that you can enjoy it and relate to it regardless of how you feel about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.