Thursday, February 14, 2013

Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain: A Review

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkBilly Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 - 4 stars. This book has gotten so much buzz, I decided to select it for my book club. We haven't met yet to discuss, and already there's been a lot of complaining. However, in general I liked it. I think the premise is interesting (a US soldier comes home with his platoon after a successful battle in Iraq and they are paraded around in a tour of the country to drum up support for the war...the entire novel takes place during a Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboys game during which they are to appear alongside Destiny's Child during the half-time show). The writing is wonderful, hypnotic even. The main character, Billy Lynn, is a likeable 19 year old kid. And it is an illuminating commentary on "patriotism" and commercialism (there is a producer at their side vying for the film deal) and even on war. But, as my book club friends have complained, it kind of drags. I have tremendous patience when it comes to slow-moving books, but I found myself fine with setting this one down each night. I also found most of the characters, besides, Billy to be somewhat flat, more caricature than character. Still a worthwhile read. The writing is lovely.

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