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Friday, January 11, 2013

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain has been everywhere lately--on all of the "Best Of 2012" lists, book blogs, magazines. You name it, the book is there.

Bravo company returns home for their victory tour--they survived a firefight with rebel insurgents in Iraq, losing two of their company members. After spending weeks traveling around the country, and two nights and one day at home with their families, the company heads to Dallas to attend the Cowboy's Thanksgiving game as guests. A half-time show, dozens of drinks, and a movie deal later, the company can't quite figure out what hit them--both literally and figuratively.

I was so taken by this book and by Billy Lynn. Fountain has created a character so honest and truthful in a nineteen year-old soldier who joined the army rather than face further consequences for defending his sister's honor. I adored his relationship with his completely imperfect family, even his louse of a father who in his infirmity makes his family unhappy. Billy's short time home is so sad yet it is written with such love and care that sometimes I couldn't help but smile.

It is, however, Bravo company's scenes at the Cowboys games that are the funniest and most warming to read. Fountain reminds his readers that those who are fighting are often just boys, young men who are like any others you might see on any given Sunday. They drink, they joke around, and they make fun of one another, but these boys have something deeper than any other group at the game--they are truly a band of brothers. It was touching to watch their relationship unfold in the pages of this book.

There is so much wrapped into these 300 or so pages, both physically written in the book and emotionally in my soul. I am thankful for Billy's story.

You can read this gem yourself! Kindle on the left, hard copy  on the right:

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