I MARRIED VIETNAM by Sandie Frazier

I MARRIED VIETNAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Tale of a Vietnam vet from the point of view of his long-suffering wife, in an apparently autobiographical first novel from a Chicago writer. Frazier takes us back to the very moment of birth of Jeremy Freeman, a Native/African American from a Mississippi Delta sharecropping family. She takes him through high school, where he shows promise both as a scholar and athlete, until an accident crushes his leg, ending his football career, and in a dark mood he volunteers for the Army's Air-borne Rangers--and, of course, Vietnam. About half the novel concerns Jeremy's experiences in combat, which are grueling indeed. In fact, Frazier in this respect is reminiscent of John Nichols in American Blood, another tale of combat that is bloodier and more intense than combat truly is, therefore seeming maudlin and unconvincing, despite the wealth of detail. Late in this story the perspective shifts sharply, and Frazier gives us confused young Samantha, a recovering drug addict who falls in love with Jeremy the tortured veteran. He rescues her, in a way, but then she also rescues him, as memories of the war become too overpowering to bear except in Samantha's precious company. This is by now quite a familiar tale, if still a sad and regrettable one, and Samantha's point of view as a noncombatant heroically reconstructing combat, and as a woman in love with a deeply troubled man, is often touching. Frazier's outrage that a life that had seemed so promising came to so little rings true. Uneven--but, in the end, both Samantha and Jeremy come through as compelling and real. A promising and unusual debut.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1992
ISBN: 0-8076-1288-X
Page count: 222pp
Publisher: Braziller
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992