The body shop is an Army hospital -- Letterman General, near San Francisco. Browne transcripts the brave and profane...

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BODY SHOP: Recuperating from Vietnam

The body shop is an Army hospital -- Letterman General, near San Francisco. Browne transcripts the brave and profane conversations of amputee patients back from Vietnam, refreshingly keeping herself out of the reportage. So we get it straight. Woody: ""It's their goddamned war and they're making their pile off it. . . . I can still smell that dink smell. . . . No one can say I didn't do my share. . . . I never hated any Vietnamese people."" Paul: ""I have always been disappointed. . . . I got a deep hatred for some capitalists. . . . I think there are so many Communists in our government. . . . My soul belongs to God."" The patients smoke dope on the semi-sly (""Being stoned is really a bummer on crutches"") and reminisce about the strong stuff in Nam, and all the overdoses. The hospital personnel talk too: the chaplain, an amputee veteran himself, claims ""I never saw a man who was a killer,"" while the male psychiatric nurse drawls, ""Often a man is to blame for his injury. . . it is likely that they have low IQ's."" Ultimately the patients' future is the question. Woody leaves Letterman and hangs around the rootbeer stand and rejects preferential hiring. These guys have all the passionate inconsistencies and pride of their working-class parents, and that, not its anti-war message, contributes much of the poignancy of the book.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Stein & Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1973