From Lana Higgenbotham
War, soldiers, PTSD, and … Hemingway… the battles within and without each of the characters in James Charles’ novel takes the reader on an unexpected ride from the first page. His writing style perpetuates a co-witness account of the events of his main character’s life. This intimate ride-along with Zachary Powell as a young soldier and veteran spiraling into alcoholism is honest and brutal. He fights to rebuild his life and those of his army buddies. The only one who really knows his internal battle is a companion only he can see, but whom the reader will recognize- Ernest Hemingway. I don’t want to give away anymore of the story because its unexpected twists from page to page need to be experienced as the story unfolds. Even with the grittiness, violence, language, and graphic scenes, the candid and unvarnished look at Zachary, his war buddies, and those who love them is a must read for all Americans. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with his disillusionment or conclusions. We still have the right to agree or disagree because of our military preserving those rights. I like Zach beyond his service as a soldier. He is a good friend, a writer, a reader of literature, likes old movies, and has a heart that loves one woman to heart-wrenching depths. The story reminds us to see the person behind the uniform. We owe them unspeakable gratitude and support once they get home. They preserve our way of life.
The American dream— the democracy, the freedom, the lifestyle, and the rights— aren’t possible without those who pay the cost. It goes deeper than the politics and the monetary; it is the sacrifice of humanity that saves humanity. Our country’s early soldiers (my own relatives among them) fought on American soil. Since that time, our military has secured our country within and far from our shores. Unfortunately, the shared sacrifice citizens made on the home front for the success of our troops has dwindled since World War II, along with the support of and for the returning veterans. The military families make the sacrifices during deployment and continue once their battle-changed men and women come home. The modern way of “if it’s broken, just get a new one” does not, and should not apply to people, especially not our military. I give MY WAR WITH HEMINGWAY by James Charles five stars.
James Charles has written a very moving portrayal of veterans who have great difficulty making it in civilian life after having lived through some horrific combat. The surprise for me was that this is really a love story! It is a boy meet girl, boys loses girl story.
Charles shows how difficult it is, through the voice of the main character, to have a so-called “normal, loving and intimate relationship.” It also deals with addiction, PTSD and other contemporary issues currently debated in American today. That was a surprise for me! No matter what you believe, it clearly lays out the premise that these soldiers, no matter who they are, or wherever they come from, served so that they can have them same, “equal” liberty everyone else in America today has, or should have as guaranteed by our Constitution.
The story begins with a brief combat scene, and once you “live” though the horrors that these boys go through, it is a story about what comes after in civilian life.
I “highly” recommend this story for “all Americans” so they realize and understand how difficult is for our veterans. to come home I couldn’t help thinking while reading this story that it unfolds in a cinematic way and would make an excellent and moving film! I completely empathized, cried along the way, and rooted for these veterans to make it! If it were made into a film with one of those young “girl magnet” actors, they would flock to see this true love story.
From Susan E. Santiago
WOW, this book took me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. It is a very honest and human story about the realities of what our Veterans have experienced, not only in combat, but, especially, after they return home. It truly gives you an up-close, personal, and vivid look at the various and complex means in which they find their coping mechanisms, as they suffer through the healing processes of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I hate war, but I love and respect our Veterans and, now, even more so since reading “My War With Hemingway.” I have a better understanding of what they suffer and strive to overcome. Bravo, Mr. James Charles, for a great and insightful book!
This was a real surprise. It’s not in my normal reading preferences, but it turned out to be a very good read. I cried a couple of times along the way, and once I got rolling, it was very hard to put down. The characters are very well written and the story unfolds beautifully. If they ever make a movie from this book, I’ll go see it, because I doubt that even Hollywood could mess this story up. Bravo!
I absolutely loved the story. PTSD is different in everyone!! The Brotherhood shown by these Veterans is true. It has always been this way! A truly great story about war, love and Friends.
From Nancy J. Martin
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. It was hard to put down at night as it was a very relevant and interesting story. The author has described events and things so beautifully, that I felt like I was there. The battle scenes are not overdone, but told honestly. I never felt squeamish at all. The romance was not fake or unrealistic, but tastefully written. Most of us have no idea what a person with PTSD goes through and the author takes us on a journey that most of us can’t comprehend. It was a very descriptive journey of a soldier trying to cope with what has happened in his life. It tells of the camaraderie of a bunch of young men assigned to the same unit. It tells of how they become brothers in life after leaving the service. You need to buy this book and read for yourself!
From Phil Fredricks
I’m not sure if the author will agree with my characterization of the book, but James Charles has written an anti-war novel, a love tale, and ghost story, seen through a bottle of very potent alcohol.. Huh? Yes – it’s all there – battlefields, love, drinking, friendships forged in war, suicide, rehab, and the darkness that often descends upon our veterans when they return home from the battle.
James Charles has written a war story of America’s recent wars in Iran and Afghanistan, a group of private soldiers who go through every kind of horrible war experience, and then have to adjust to going home and picking up the pieces of their lives. This story has a fascinating twist, namely the presence of Ernest Hemingway in the narrative, as a ghost of course, but with a real voice; indeed, as “Hem” or “Stein” he mostly speaks in Hemingway’s own words. This gives the book a peculiar charm and interest. It is written by a vet., and totally captures what these conflicts were like from the viewpoints of the young soldiers who experienced them, in blood and pain, in far off places, in the dirt and heat.