Monday, July 9, 2007

One of Each

My most recent adult read, also for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge, was From Baghdad With Love by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman. This was a book I was very much looking forward to, as it combines two of my favorite things, rescued dogs and military men. :-) Unfortunately, I was more than a little disappointed in the content of the book and felt pretty depressed when I was finished reading it.

Jay Kopelman was a Marine serving in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 when he and his team enter an abandoned house. They hear clicking noises coming from the upstairs and believe they are the sound of grenade pins being pulled. Instead of a terrorist ready to kill them, they find a tiny puppy that soon becomes the groups mascot, being named Lava after their group name Lava Dogs.

Kopelman goes on to tell more on the war in Iraq, much more than about little Lava. I'm sure that was the point of the book, but for me, I was looking for more about the dog and how the dog affected every day life for these Marines. Instead, this book was more about death, shootings, raids, and all the stuff I really don't need to hear about when my husband may be leaving for his second tour in Iraq in just over two months. It was my own fault for picking up the book at this particular time, but I really don't feel I would have liked it any better having read it at a different point in my life. Oh well!

The second book I finished over the weekend was a juvenile fiction suggestion I got from someone's blog recently, though I can't remember who exactly. What I Call Life by Jill Wolfson is the story of Cal Lavender (you must read the book to find out her full name, it's quite amusing) and her introduction to the foster care system. Cal's mother, Betty, has one of her "episodes" in the local public library and after the police are called, Cal is sent to live in a girl's group home run by The Knitting Lady. There she meets four young girls and an old lady that change her life completely, though Cal fights it tooth and nail.

I really enjoyed this book, especially the Knitting Lady's stories that were told to the girls at different points in the plot line. As annoying as she was, I think my favorite character was Whitney simply do to her boisterous nature and her trueness in character. This novel was very similar to the Nikki Grimes book I read last week, The Road to Paris, but with a funnier and edgier tone. Both are great books and I would certainly recommend both. I had never read anything by this author before, but will look for more in the future.


Becky said...


I highly recommend Jill Wolfson's novel Home and Other Big Fat Lies. It's a 2006 book, and one of the best of the year, in my opinion. Foster care was a big trend I noticed last year.

soleil said...

thank you so much for the strikethrough code ;)

Overwhelmed! said...

Okay, I'm going to go look for this book at my local library. Thanks for the recommendation!

By the way, I wanted to remind you that I'm launching my Pay It Forward book exchange!

I’m kicking it off with a book giveaway of “Lucky” by Alice Sebold, so please stop by and enter to win! You have until end of day on Friday, 13 July, to enter. :)