Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

As I read this book I vacillated back and forth between really loving it and being disappointed. I'm still not sure how I feel! Overall, think the topic of the book, the early days of the Iraq War, is an important one. I like the characters, but would have like to know more about them, especially Robin, the narrator. His character seems to be the least developed of them all...he tells a good story, and we learn a lot about his fellow soldiers, and life in the military, but not much about him. I loved the language in the book. There were passages I found myself re-reading and savoring.

So, why didn't I LOVE the book??? I've been asking myself this all day as I thought about what I was going to post. I think I was disappointed in the military, if you could believe that??!! I couldn't believe how untrained these soldiers were, and how cavalier those in charge were about sending them around Iraq and how much they didn't know about the "enemy." One of the lines that resonated with me was, "...an enemy we can't identify and friends we're not sure about." I wanted more details! I think Myers oversimplified things, like the role of women soldiers. But then I would remind myself that this was fiction, and a book for young adults, so perhaps the author took liberties. At least I hope so. I would hate to think this is really the situation over there!

I think this book would work well for literature circles, perhaps appealing to guys. I would perhaps pair it with Fallen Angels, also by Myers. The reviews call Sunrise Over Fallujah a companion book to Fallen Angels. For those who haven't read it, the uncle Robin writes to is the protagonist in Fallen Angels, which takes place during the Vietnam War.

I also think it would have a place in the social studies curriculum, although it doesn't go into great historical details.

I will stop now, I am anxious to see what everyone else thought.