Eat the Apple
by Young, Matt






A combat veteran and writing instructor traces the darkly comic story of his youth and masculinity as they were shaped in an age of continuous war, describing how he joined the Marines as a way to temper his reckless nature before enduring three Iraq deployments.





Matt Young holds an MA in Creative Writing from Miami University and is the recipient of fellowships with Words After War and the Carey Institute for Global Good. His work can be found in Tin House, Word Riot, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. He is a combat veteran, and lives in Olympia, Washington, where he teaches writing.





*Starred Review* If Young enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 2005 out of a post-high-school lack of direction or general brokenness, the next half decade and its accompanying three tours of Iraq would take him further from any certainty and crush him into more and smaller pieces still. His memoir is creatively told in atmospheric and gut-checking essays, some of which include lists, quizzes, or the author's stick-figure drawings. As often as he is "I," the author also addresses himself as "you," "past-me," "the boy," "this recruit," or "we," the collective voice of his fleet. Young sobs in bathrooms; learns to shoot a gun; drinks too much; smokes countless cigarettes; masturbates to pass the time; cheats on his fiancée; loses friends; doesn't die; doesn't kill anyone else; doesn't know what to talk about with civilians. He gets hurt and now knows the places beyond his body where that hurt will live forever. Readers will wonder how people are expected to fight wars at all-let alone survive them. Young's visceral prose, honed in college and writing programs after his tours of duty, confronts shame, guilt, and pain without flinching yet is beyond sympathetic to its subject; it is another act of service. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





In this debut memoir, Young (English/Centralia Coll.) reflects on his experiences joining the Marine Corps at the age of 18 and his subsequent tour in Iraq.The author, who teaches creative writing and composition, uses a variety of literary styles, but he is straightforward about his own shortcomings: "You've chosen the United States Marine Corps infantry based on one thing: you got drunk and crashed your car into a fire hydrant sometime in the early morning and think-because your idea of masculinity is severely twisted and damaged by the male figures in your life and the media with which you surround yourself-that the only way to change is the self-flagellation achieved by signing up for war." Throughout the book, Young pays homage to many clear influences, not least Gustav Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979) and its film adaptation, Full Metal Jacket, as well as Anthony Swofford's Jarhead (2003) and Tim O'Brien's similarly episodic The Things They Carried (1 990). The shock and trauma of war come into play in Young's stories, but he also gives equal time to discussions of boredom, masturbation, infidelity, shame, and regret, all rendered in a caustically humorous tone. With chapters such as "How to Ruin a Life," "How to Throw a Drunken Punch," and "How to Feel Ashamed for Things You Never Did," the author performs a certain amount of literary alchemy, using style and the space between memory and fiction to transform his raw experiences into self-lacerating works of art. By the time the end comes, after three combat deployments, he was a changed man. "I have acted like a bullet," he writes. "I entered lives and bounced and ricocheted and broken and torn. Now I am going to exit one life and that life will have no say." A real war story told in fragments by a gifted young writer trying to come to grips with his experiences. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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