Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: No Man's Land by S.T. Underdahl

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  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. (Flux Books)
  • Publication date: 11/8/2012
  • Pages: 274
  • Source: eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Overview

With humor and honesty, neuropsychologist S. T. Underdahl explores the timely topic of post-traumatic stress disorder

If life were a movie, Dov Howard's role would be Emo Kid/Family Loser. His brother Brian would star as Master of the Universe. But that's okay. Dov's got great friends-and possibly a new one named Scarlett. Like everyone else, Dov loves his brother and is thrilled when Brian, a National Guard soldier, is sent home in one piece. Then things get weird. Talking to his jumpy brother is like juggling grenades, and Dov can't help but notice Brian's new best friends: Jack Daniels and the pistol he sleeps with. What will it take for his family to wake up and see the ugly truth?


My Thoughts

I have been really into issue books in the past few months, and I have friends who have dealt with loved ones with post-traumatic stress, so when I saw this book I really wanted to read it. This book was very honest and does not gloss over anything. It is a very tell it as it is story about not only dealing with a family member with post-traumatic stress, but dealing with your own personally struggles too. This was book is full of many issues, including bullying, depression, abuse, and other things. It is a book that really makes you think. 

Dov is a high school boy who has always lived in the shadow of his perfect brother. He has a few close friends, but his brother was Mr. Popular, does no wrong, and loved my everyone. Dov loves his brother more than anything and when he gets sent over to Afghanistan he goes into a depression. He dresses all in black, dyed his hair black, and is very emo. He has conversations with his pet gecko which is weird, but it shows that he has his own issues beyond all the other stuff going on. He also tries to befriend a new girl at school named Scarlett and I really liked how that goes. The thoughts he has when trying to figure her out really help you get to know him. When Brian comes back Dov hopes things will get back to normal, but instead they spiral further out of control.   

His family is a total mess. Even before Brain was in the National Guard, things weren't right at home. His father is a trucker and is gone for weeks at a time. Even when he is home it's not like he acknowledges Dov unless it's to put him down or yell at him for something anyways. Dov has never been the child to get attention. His mom is there, but she never treated Dov the same as she treated Brian. It's like Dov is always an afterthought. 

School isn't much better. There is a group of kids who are always picking on Dov and his friends and making emo jokes. He tries his best to ignore them though. His real escape is art. He loves art and is good at it. It also doesn't hurt that his teacher is really pretty and he has a silly crush on her. 

This book was emotional and touching. We are in Dov's head and we watch as things fall apart all around him and watch him try to fix them. Not only his broken family, but his friends and himself too. This wasn't a book that makes you want to grab a box of tissues and cry, but it is one that leaves an ache in your heart. It's hard to read about the struggles that Dov faces. It's harder to read knowing that he is trying so hard to do something about it, but no one hears him. No, they hear him, it's just easier to ignore the problems instead of address them. This was a very honest book that shows us a peek into the life of someone affected by many issues including post-traumatic stress. If you enjoy issue books, this is a book for you. 3 out of 5 stars.

16 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm not really a fan of depressing or books like this. I think they would control my feelings too much. I like to be in control of my own emotions. LOL

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    1. I never used to be into books like this and I have found lately that I do like issue books, but can only read them very spread out.

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  2. This sounds really sad. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read something like this. Thanks for the review.

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    1. It was sad, but not to the point of being really depressing. You just really get a feel for what is going on.

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  3. Great review--I'm glad the author handled a tricky subject well. Btw, I've been MIA for a few weeks so this is my first time seeing your awesome new banner. LOVE IT!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Thanks Wendy!! This book was very well written. I have seen the affects of PPD first hand, and this is a very realistic book on it.

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    2. Haha!! Totally meant PTSD. Dude! I am like a spaz today with not getting things right the first comment or email.

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  4. hmm im not sure if im in for depressing books this moment, but this does sound good. Great review Amy!

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    1. It is a book you really have to be in the right frame of mind for.

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  5. We both reviewed books w/similar issues today! I think it's important to have stories for those dealing w/loved ones who've been through traumatic times. No Man's Land sounds like a very worthy story. Great review!

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    1. I agree. I think there should be more books like this with the people around the affected one dealing with it, and not just from the POV of the person who has the issue.

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  6. This sounds like something I would like. I am with you on really being into issue books lately. I haven't read any that deal with PTSD though I do have This is Not A Drill coming up, which I think does. Happy you enjoyed this one!

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    1. That book sounds really good. I don't know why, but I have been so drawn to realistic fiction lately. I really have been hooked on issue books.

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  7. Issue books have been making a it lately with me as well I find them refreshing which is weird to say. But it's a nice change from all the paranormals and dystopians. I love the sounds of this one it deals with a lot of tough issues and it sounds very emotional and true. It's my first time hearing about this book, too! Lovely review, chickiedee!

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    1. I totally get what you mean. It's a welcome change from so many dystopians, fantasy, and paranormal. I have also been really into sci-fi too. I haven't read a whole lot of it before and the past few months I have really gotten into it.

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  8. I'm not sure I could handle this book. I just need to hind from things to serious when I read. Thanks for sharing.

    Valerie

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