Fobbit by David Abrams
While this book was ousted from the Tournament of Books pre-play round by Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, I was busy getting annoyed with the first judge in the competition. You can see my original rant from March 4, 2013 if you click here.
Mr. Abrams's Fobbits are military office drones. They are the people who feel the full weight of bureaucracy's red tape. They are the people who get the information out to the public. In prior wars, this was probably a better job. With the advent of the Iraqi war in 2003, we saw all those embedded writers and reporters. The journalist on site can get the story filed way before the military has the information and can confirm it. it. This leaves the officials at the command center sending the story to the wire services after it has been reported by their emedded reporter. Part of the delay is due to the spin the powers that be want put on the story. By 2005, when everyone knew that there were no WMDs and Saddam Hussein had been pulled out of his spider hole, the military needed a new way to show the folks at home what was going on. The idea they wanted to present was that the Iraqi forces were primed and ready to take back their country.
The Fobbits work out of one of Hussein's palaces, with the base just outside. They live in trailers and have a food court with a Starbucks and fast food restaurants. Sure, it isn't all the comforts of home, but it's far homier than you would think. Although, it's possible that's only if you are a 'know nothing but what you read' civilian, like me.
One of things I liked best about this book was the way that Abrams told the story from multiple view points. We've all heard that there are three sides to every story and here we have Abrams providing us with enough information to figure out what's happening.
This was a war book, that although it did contain plenty of war in it, mostly showed what a modern war looks like. I get the comparisons between this and Catch-22, which is, undoubtedly a masterpiece of a war story. Fobbit has moments of humor and horror. It shows a side of wartime life that I wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to. Abrams has a voice worth listening to and a way of conveying his experience in the war that I enjoyed. You got a sense of the fear, the frustration, the gallows humor, even the heat.
You can check out David Abrams website for more information on the man and the book.