Title: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Goodreads)
Author: Ben Fountain
Published: Canongate, 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Kindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
Billy Lynn is a 19 year old Iraq War hero on a P.R. tour for the Army. The team “the Bravos” are on a two week “Victory Tour” stateside that was filmed and widely viewed on TV due to acts of valour in Iraq. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a satirical look at Americans and how they treat and view the war on terror.
I’ve often heard that this book is a satirical book in the vein of Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch 22 and this was the primary reason I read this book. While there were some satirical elements in the book, I found this book a little heartbreaking; in the sense that these soldiers fight for their country and the Americans love them for it, as long as it doesn’t interrupt their football or cost them anything. This was the overall message I got from this book; people will support their troops as long as it takes no effort and doesn’t interrupt their lives.
I wanted to like this book and sure there is a lot to think about in this book but I think leaving me so feeling so bad doesn’t really help with the enjoyment element of this book. There were some literary issues I had, but they could be narrowed down to the fact I’m not an American and I don’t fully understand the American lifestyle.
The entire book really showed the disconnection between the military and civil life in this modern day. Americans wants revenge for 9/11 but they are not willing to sacrifice their Thanksgiving football game. This was a powerful book and while it’s not as funny as Catch 22 it does leave you pondering life like Slaughterhouse-Five did for me. As I’ve stated I’m not expert in American life or politics but this did leave me pondering many aspects of this war on Terror.