I already had Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir (American Sniper) reserved at the library when the news broke that he’d been killed by a fellow veteran (article). Given that I write about wounded veterans, I was fascinated by the circumstances of his death, and especially interested in what he had to say in life.
Kyle’s writing style is casual; he may be biased but it’s not in-your-face. Even if you don’t feel the same, you don’t mind because he seems like such a decent guy. He tells it like it is without political BS. I liked that he was unapologetic about being a Christian. There’s a lot of swearing etc in the military, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be a Christian. That’s real. And it’s interesting that he brought his wife’s voice/thoughts into it from time to time.
I confess that in my time crunch, I skipped over some of the military stuff in favor of the personal struggles. He’s pretty matter-of-fact about them, and I found myself wishing he’d go more in-depth on the personal struggles.
In one chapter he talks about falling into a pit and drinking all the time. He mentions a car crash (totaled his truck but he walked away without a scratch) being his wake-up call. I wanted to know more… what those demons were like “up close” and how he faced them down and crawled back out of that pit (and I’m sure he wouldn’t have done it in a “poor me” style either). I suppose no one wants to relive periods like that (I sure don’t) but that’s what I really wanted to know, and that’s what I think makes a memoir stand out. This one is OK but not a stand-out.
But I do have to wonder about the “demons” his fellow veteran was battling that would make him take such an extreme action…