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Unspoken Abandonment - Review

Unspoken Abandonment: Sometimes the hardest part of going to war is coming home - Bryan A. Wood

As I'll explain, this could be a five star book...

Hard to quantify at times, this is the memoir of its author, a combat veteran of Afghanistan. Equally hard to qualify, it's compelling, at turns gripping, and speaks a truth which (bizarrely enough) few other contemporary war records are bothering to relate. It's hard to quantify because it doesn't really end up being a memoir, nor a war record, an inspirational book, or really anything specific. It begins quite strongly, using flashback and foreshadowing to set itself up, but it's as though the editing process, the hand of which can be clearly felt in the first half simply gets up and leaves before the ending, which feels unedited entirely.

It's hard to qualify because without having a clear goal, it's hard to ascertain whether or not the book accomplishes it. For me, Mr. Wood doesn't really ever reach any specific genre...and that's ok.

So why must I sit here, feeling guilty that I've given it 2 stars instead of the raging 5's it looks like nearly everybody has given it? I suspect that those reviewers have rewarded Mr. Wood for his brutal, honest, and openhearted truth, which is very much the strength of the book. But the simple act of writing a book means you stand in contrast with all other books of it's kind, and the writing is left too uneven, too unpolished to stand on its own. Now please before you get angry at me, I used the word "left" deliberately: an accomplished, professional editor is all that this book requires, and certainly online there's speculation that the book being pulled from the author's website and amazon (there's only four copies in the public library system, AFAIK) means exactly that. There's a remarkable story here, ranging from the horrors of DAILY life in theatre, to the terrible (IMO) betrayal by the military of our wounded soldiers. Few authors, and practically zero autobiographers, are expected to both have lived a life worth words AND be able to write AND edit it. For one thing, they live too close to the subject.

With some spit and polish, this book can reach 5 stars. I hope it does so.