Part One of Born on the Fourth of July

Ron Kovic was a shy, athletic kid who joined the Marines because he wanted to be a hero. One wonders if he would’ve joined if he hadn’t been raised on John Wayne movies and others like them. He found out pretty quickly that the military wasn’t as glorious as the movies made it out to be though. One might say he would’ve been better off following his other dream of playing with the Yankees…

So far, I definitely like this book very much. Kovic’s style is very realistic: it’s harsh and often painful to read, and I think that was very important for him to get across when he was writing it. You smile or cringe at the childhood stories, some of which are very familiar because we’ve all gone through those kinds of things. Despite the change from first person to third person perspective (which he seems to do a lot), you feel his uncertainty, fear, and determination at the Marine training camp. You experience his degradation and almost insanity while he is in the hospital living (though he wouldn’t call it that) with being paralyzed from the chest down. It’s very powerful reading and a perfect example of the kind of damage war can cause.

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