Saturday, October 4, 2014

Something like Normal by Trish Doller

...chicks are naturally attracted to the scent of badass.

I HAVE READ SO MANY BAD BOOKS LATELY AND ABANDONED SO MANY BAD BOOKS HALFWAY THROUGH AND JUST. SIGH. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR STANDARDS. Okay, they weren’t BAD. They had POTENTIAL. It’s just really clear that maybe there are some editors out there who have no business being editors? (or these authors had no editors to begin with) Whatever. It’s not my job to judg- oh. It literally is.

So, that’s why I haven’t read or posted much (anything) this year. Book slump. And life has been happening. And we both suck at blogging. Excuses, excuses. Anyway, I was kind of desperately searching through those little lists on Goodreads when I found

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Publication date: June 19, 2012 (Bloomsbury)

I know it’s “old,” but despite the thousands upon thousands of ratings/reviews, I haven’t heard anything about it. Ever. Maybe you guys haven’t either. So I’mma remedy that situation right now.

Picture it with me. Be intrigued. Swoon a little. It’s okay to be pulled in by the whole uniform thing. I don’t think we can actually help it.

Travis Stephenson spontaneously enlists in the Marine Corps after high school to escape the less than stellar relationship with his overbearing father. Though we don’t have much of an opportunity to get to know him pre-Afghanistan, the change in him is made fairly evident when he returns. Things at home have changed too, and not for the better. This is what a large portion of the book deals with, so the squee-inducing fluff-nugget of a cover is a bit misleading.

While Travis attempts to deal with the nightmares and grief on his own, (as an added bonus: enter cover) he starts spending some time with an old “friend” from middle school. It’s a rocky start - and a rocky middle - but she tries to understand him and is his only source of comfort in a world he feels undeserving of.

I’m extremely picky when it comes to books written from a male’s POV, and I’m happy (obvi) to report that I liked this one a lot. I appreciated the amount of research that was obviously put into it to accurately capture The Feels and the struggle of a soldier adjusting to life after loss and war. I was actually kind of mad when I reached the end. I wanted more, and I’m not going to lie, I cried. I laughed too. But I cried. The Fault in Our Stars didn’t even make me cry. I’m weird. Anyway, there’s a lot to take away from this book, but I’m not going to list them because I’m clearly not great at thought put-togethering, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself and judge me and my opinion of good literature.

I think this was a debut novel for Trish Doller, so I’m excited to take a look-see at her other works.

4.75 out of 5 (I KNOW. I have star issues. I can’t just throw them out willy nilly. Accept it.)

He was the person all of us should be, but most of us aren't. And if I could have taken his place to buy him a little more time in the world, I'd have done it. I'm sorry I couldn't.

P.P.S. Thanks to Yajaira for some of the random parenthetical additions.

- Rachel

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