This is one of the books I bought at Book Fair Australia. I’m sending four of my book stash to a Christmas Drive as presents for young people. I bought them to give away and this seems a good time and place. I probably should take a photo and blog about the experience, I’m a bit slack about these things. For today I’m talking about this book, and what a book it is.
It’s big. It weighs in at 522 pages, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I did enjoy the book, it’s reasonably well written. The author told me there’s a part two in process, someone told him there was too much for one book, I’m glad he listened. I’m looking forward to book two, I want to know where Cirson is planning on going with the ending.
This book is an excellent illustration in why editors are needed. There’s at least two places I would have ended this book. Both of them are cliff hangers and both of them would make me want to read the next book. If the second book is the same then I see no reason these books couldn’t have been written into five or even six books. Each of them would have been a good length for a book.
The book is written from several different points of view. Adult males who have been through war or a male child who is going through hell at home. Each of them have their own form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I appreciated each point of view and it’s interesting, at the end of the book, to see how they come to a similar place in the country.
At some point I should mention this book is mostly set in Australia. Various parts of Australia, making me want to visit the parts I haven’t seen…such as Darwin. Apparently it’s hot in Darwin during the course of this book, even when it’s not. Parts of the book are set in the Vietnam War, the descriptions are graphic, so be warned. ‘Enjoyment’ is probably a poor word to use while I read these parts, but it was good to some sort of appreciation of the Vietnam War.
We also see how the veterans of the Vietnam War are treated when they return home. The war was not supported by so much of the Australian population and the veterans were not looked after when they got back. They didn’t really get a Welcome March to indicate the country was pleased to see them back. This section of the book is a really good illustration of how hard it was for them.
Many of the descriptions in this book are wonderful. I could really see what was happening most of the time. And when it rained in Darwin I could almost feel the wetness. Really good descriptions. I’m not saying the descriptions are what makes this book worth reading, but they certainly help.
This is a very dark book, and I’m happy with dark books. We can see from the second page how Michael’s father is suffering from PTSD and how he’s taking it out on his family. But it goes from dark to very dark as Australia is invaded, and I had to keep reading to the end. I was hooked within the first couple of pages.
There is some hope for joy as one of the characters ends up in prison and find a way to cope. His method was extreme exercise so he left prison much fitter than when he entered. Back in the 1970s PTSD wasn’t recognised and therefore not treated. People coped or they didn’t and often the families were at risk.
One character really fascinated me. So much that I would have liked to see his story in a book of its own. We get a little from his point of view, but there is more that I’d like. Because his is second generation PTSD it would have been interesting to find out why he chose his method of coping. We see how that worked, or didn’t work, for him.
There is some level of skill in this book. I will be keeping an eye out for book two. Sometimes I would say I’m giving the author the benefit of doubt in wanting to read the next book. This is not one of those times. I’m hoping he’s got more than two books in him as I’d be quite happy to read more books by Cirson, unless he decides to include too much romance. That would probably wreck it for me.
In case you want to look at the book, or even consider buying it, here is a link. ‘50% of authors proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to “Soldier On.” To assist with the health and mental wellbeing of current and ex-serving ADF personnel.’ I’ve included this in quotes as it’s written in the front of the book. Cirson was up front with this information when I bought the book. It’s good to support the ADF.