MESSAGE FROM NAM by Danielle Steel
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The Queen of Romance in the jungles of Southeast Asia? Dedicated to ""the boys who died/who lived/who cried/the boys/who fought/in Nam,"" Steel's 25th novel tells the story of the beauteous Paxton Andrews, a southern belle who leaves her repressive Savannah home for journalism school at Berkeley, where she falls in love with handsome law student Peter Wilson. The two are quickly radicalized (""Peter burned his draft card with Paxton's full approval""), but Peter is forced into the army anyway and quickly killed near Da Nang. Decked out in ""combat clothes,"" a mourning Paxton heads for Vietnam in 1968 as a correspondent for the San Francisco Morning Sun, experiences the war firsthand (""Come in Lone Ranger, this is Tonto. . .Lone Ranger, do you hear me?.""), and falls in love yet again-this time with a handsome infantry captain, later also killed. That leaves her free for a fiery relationship with Sergeant Tony Campobello (""her green eyes blaz [ed] into his like M-16 rifles""), who soon turns up missing in action. The distraught Paxton then bids Saigon adieu (""So long. . .goodbye, Viet Nam. . .goodbye. . .I really loved you"") to take a job with The New York Times--but returns at war's end to seek out Tony, who may or may not have survived. Of Vietnam fiction this heavy-handed, implausible exercise is strictly bottom-of-the-barrel, ranking somewhere between a joke and a travesty--whether or not Steel's readers put her on the best-seller lists once again.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1990
Publisher: Delacorte