Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

film / tv / lists / guides / news / love / celeb / video / think pieces / staff / podcasts / web culture / politics / dc / snl / netflix / marvel / cbr

Cannonball Read V: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

By Scootsa1000 | Book Reviews | January 2, 2013 | Comments ()


Hey, check it out! Looks like the first review of CBR5. I'm grateful its a good one!

Sometimes, I read a book and am immediately affected by it. I either love it or hate it as soon as I am a few chapters in. And sometimes, a book is more of a "slow burn" might take a bit longer to get myself immersed in it, but when I do, the book will stay with me for a very long time. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is one of those books. I simply cannot stop thinking about it, can't stop worrying about the (fictional!) characters, and can't stop trying to figure out what happens to them after the book.

Billy Lynn tells the story of Bravo Squad -- a heroic bunch of young soldiers who were part of a daring and brave attack early on in the war in Iraq. They are "rewarded" with a Victory tour around America. They visit big cities and are -- for the most part -- treated as heroes. The Bush administration welcomes them to the White House, decorates them with medals, and plasters their faces and stories all over TV and other media in an effort to humanize the war. Hollywood is interested in their story (even though Hillary Swank wants to play a member of the all-male unit), and they quickly become minor celebrities. They finish up their tour on Thanksgiving Day, at Cowboy stadium in Dallas, the most American place in the entire world.

The main character, Billy Lynn, isn't even 20 years old. He narrates the story -- mostly about their day in Dallas, but with huge chunks told in flashback -- and quickly becomes someone quite real, someone that you might know, and someone that you end up caring and worrying about. He's hungover, misses his family, and wonders why he hasn't found his soul mate yet. He's lonely and scared...The Bravo Squad is heading back to Iraq the next day, and Billy can't quite wrap his head around what that means. His sister wants him to run away, but Billy isn't sure he has much of a life other than the military. The ultimate Catch-22.

The writing and characters (including the Harvey Weinstein guy, the Jerry Jones guy, as well as his fellow soldiers and family members) felt real to me (even though I know very little about the actual military or the military lifestyle). And Billy broke my heart. Sometimes very much a teenager (the ridiculous obsession with Destiny's Child!), but other times wise and toughened beyond his years. Its easy to see why this book ended up on so many "best of" lists for 2012.

Happy New Year!

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it.

For more of Scootsa1000's reviews, check out her blog, I lost on Jeopardy. You, too, can be just like Scootsa1000 in 2013. Sign up for Cannonball Read V!.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

Pajiba Love Express
Here's some Daveed Diggs for you. On Daveed Diggs' digs, actually. That man does things with clothes that should not make sense, but are absolutely perfect. (Go Fug Yourself)

Woody Allen has "so moved on" from his daughter's accusations and says he never even thinks about it. He equates her words about him to a bad review he won't read and comments on how wacky it is that Mia Farrow is his mother-in-law. He is the worst. (Celebitchy)

Not The Worst but still very gross: Leonardo DiCaprio and his Pussy Posse Wolf Pack were on the douche prowl in NYC. (Lainey)

Here are 5 under-the-radar shows. I had never even heard of the first two. (Uproxx)

Bigots, Trolls & MRAs Are Not Welcome in the Comments

Recent Reviews

Recent News

Privacy Policy