Friday, December 21, 2012

Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis

Too many wars. Too many dead. Too many wounded. I have great respect for the sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families, but I would like them to serve in peace time. Some soldiers never return and some are wounded with scars that will never heal. It is with this story that we follow one such soldier.

Ben didn't have to enlist in the military. He could have gone to college to study acting or any other vocation. But as he says, there are plenty of others out there who can be actors. Ben feels an obligation to do something for his country.

Ben's parents are concerned but supportive. His brother, Chris, has autism and does not understand what is happening. Ariela, Ben's girlfriend, is furious and confused that he did not discuss it with her. His best friend Niko is not too happy either. I'm just going to boot camp he tells them, but they fear he will be deployed. And so he is. Ben is off to Iraq with a quick e-mail to them like its no big deal.

Ben and his fellow soldiers are on patrol, doing their job, guns are fired, tension is high and then the explosion. Ben suffers a serious brain injury. He is shipped back to the states. His family and friend feel helpless. He has no memory, can no longer speak or walk. Ariela and Niko wonder if he will ever be the same. Will Ben ever remember them?

The story is gut wrenching and heartbreaking. You know there are people who have lived this story and are living it now and will live it tomorrow. We are there with Ben, and we are there with everyone else as the tragedy plays out for all involved.

I only wish this book were longer. It would have been excruciating, but more depth would have been appreciated.

May we have fewer soldiers and families who can relate to Ben's story.

For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog and Peter Lerangis' site.

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