Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Review: The Blender

Answering a plea on Facebook - (Please buy my book!), I ordered this book written by a neighbor's son about his experience in the Gulf War, The Blender by Joey Smith.

I took the book on vacation to read at the beach - I figured a good place to read a book about the desert was sitting with my feet in the sand…

Reading a book by an unknown author is one thing, but to read something written by someone you have actually met… I haven't seen Joey for many years, he was one of the kids in the neighborhood, back when we neighbors had small kids and got together for the occasional birthday or Tupperware party.

Even though I don't know him at all as an adult, it is still neat to see what he has become, it makes me proud for his parents.

One of the things I like about the book is - at the beginning in order to introduce himself to the reader he lists some things he likes, for example he lists a couple of his teachers at nearby Oakland Elementary School (they taught my kids!), he likes his sister's hair, his favorite music and books, and old pictures of his dad (who was also in the service).

A teenager who was on his way to college when called to war, he experienced a roller coaster of emotions and experiences and handled them all very well, making him into the man he is today.

He was his unit's funny guy, recognizing the power of a smile or joke to diffuse a stressful situation and make life more bearable, making the most out of a sometimes bad situation.

He did his best to try to communicate with the locals of the region he was in and "discovered the way into a person's heart is to just make the barest effort of learning his language."

Being an army brat myself, I am familiar with the unique education one receives living with and around those that serve our country. The unreserved respect and lack of prejudice exhibited by my parents and hopefully passed on to me, gleaned from years of working with people from all over the world, from all walks of life, races, colors, religions. It looks like Joey learned this from his parents as well and exhibits it admirably in his book.

Joey answers his own question - "Why did I write this? To commit to the future the memories I have, before they are lost…we lose so much to history by not recording it."

Congratulations on accomplishing your goal, Joey! I know your family is proud of you and will treasure these stories of this chapter in your life.

Now if I can just convince someone in this house to write down his long-awaited memories!


Amy P said...

Can you tell me the meaning behind the title "Blender?"

Susan said...

Amy, the only reference to 'blender' is on page 62 - "they had been thrown into this blender of war and weren't sure if they would be going home..."

Amy P said...

I would have been so disappointed if I read the book to find that to be the "story" behind the title. Thanks for filling me in. It is so nice to hear someone we know do something "big." I hope that Buddy gets cracking now that he has so local competition!

Kay said...

I forgot about you being an Army brat. And to think of all the places your Mom and Dad would settle down, they decided on Epworth. :-)

Kerri said...

Sounds like a good book. What an accomplishment! His parents have reason to be very proud.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to our service people. I thank God for their willingness to serve their country.

J. Seth Wallace said...

I loved this book. I laughed throughout it. The title, The Blender, beyond the reference mentioned above, is an image of the military experience itself. Those of us who have served know what it like to be thrown into the mix with folks from all different backgrounds, different personalities, different values, etc...and feel like you're being chopped up...yet all focused and committed to the same mission. It's an easy read, makes a great gift (especially to anyone who has served; I was in the Navy but the similar experiences brought back so many memories), and supports a great guy.