The warts-and-all memoirs of a soldier who excelled at the difficult job of being both a warrior and a healer.

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MY JOURNEY AS A COMBAT MEDIC

FROM DESERT STORM TO OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM

Retired combat medic recounts his 20-year career, from the burning oilfields of the Gulf War to the treacherous outposts of Afghanistan.

With his stomach snarled in knots and sweat stinging his eyes, Thibeault jumped from the Army aircraft, the jolt of his open parachute giving way to a gentle descent back to earth. It was 1990, and he had survived his first jump at Airborne School. Less than a year later, the rookie medic would find himself in Operation Desert Storm, treating Syrian soldiers whose limbs had been blown off. Thibeault decided to leave the active Army to study nursing, but discovered he still yearned to “be green.” So he joined the Army National Guard. Now a seasoned combat medic and registered nurse, his skills would be tested when sent to Afghanistan in 2004. In rapid-fire style, the author describes helping save the life of an Afghan girl who swallowed insecticide. While in many ways a typical military autobiography, Thibeault’s account is noteworthy for the frank way he describes the grittiest aspects of his experience. Whether it’s the rotten stench of Kabul, prostitutes in Korea or eating monkey paw soup in Ecuador, the author’s honest depiction of what he encountered gives the text a high degree of authenticity. His candor reaches a painful climax in his own struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “I had a rage inside me,” he writes. “It felt like fire was constantly shooting out of my hands.” The book’s timeline is difficult to follow, but aspiring healthcare professionals will glean lessons from a man equally at home in an Army field hospital or an inner city clinic. Thibeault is sometimes critical of his military experiences, but he concludes that being a medic is “the best job in the world.” Ultimately, the book is two journeys: an insider’s account of battlefield medicine, and the author’s own catharsis as he recalls the wounds he dressed for others and the trauma he faced himself.

The warts-and-all memoirs of a soldier who excelled at the difficult job of being both a warrior and a healer.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1934922651

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2012

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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