Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 2008
3.5 out of 5
Robin "Birdy" Perry, a new army recruit from Harlem, isn't quite sure why he joined the army, but he's sure where he's head: Iraq. Birdy and the others in the Civilian Affairs Battalion are supposed to help secure and stabilize the country and successfully interact with the Iraqi people. Officially, the code name for their maneuvers if Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the young men and women in the CA unit have a simpler name for it:
This was one of our Battle of the Books selections this year and work is one of the few things that could get me to pick this one up. Don't get me wrong, Walter Dean Myers is an excellent author who should be read, but war stories in general are not for me.
It is as realistic at they come. The dread, fear, and hope reduced to sadness are all palpable. There were times when I had to set the book aside due to the images I was conjuring up. (Having loved ones who are in the military and have been shipped out doesn't help matters).
The emotion most conveyed is that of confusion as the enemy is hard to spot and the rules have a tendency to change--even in the middle of combat. The most surprising aspect of this is that it's not overly bloody; though that's not to imply that it isn't violent. Much of the violence is discussed after the fact, or by a third party, or it happens very quickly. There is one major moment of violence that serves to punctuate the issues that arise throughout the novel.
The writing is well done and I do like the characters, but the subject matter is not what I typically gravitate to. I am glad I read it, and I think if others are not too put off by the subject matter, they will enjoy it.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library.