War Flower

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

many still think women in combat is novelty, King's memoir shows us it is both unique (as all war experiences are for soldiers) and shared experience
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This was a book that people that haven't served in the military, or in combat need to read. The author did an amazing job of putting in writing her experiences, in which I am sure this is not all of them.  It gives the reader an understanding of what military members are going through and how it has affected their whole lives.  The changes and challenges faced. For those that have served in the military and in combat they will see pieces of themselves in the pages of this book.  This was a well written and really insightful book.
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Thank you to netgalley and the published/author for this arc in exchange for my honest review.   

Riveting, beautiful read.    
There isn’t much else needed to say.     Check the book out.
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An astonishing debut memoir about the author's military service in Iraq and how she builds her life back together after leaving the service. All is not fair in love nor war, and Brooke King helps us excavate all the nuances of how, and why. The language is often poetic, the chapters artfully crafted, the descriptions riveting, horrifying, and sometimes redemptive. What a gift that Brooke survived to tell her story. There is tragedy pulsing through every page, every minute. There is also love, healing, and hope.
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Excellent. Just excellent. I always wondered about women in the military and how they handle being in battle and this well written book by Brooke King gives a glimpse into her world. Absolutely pick up this winner. I am glad that I read this eye opening story. Happy reading!
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"War Flower" isn't a book i would typically pick up, and that's exactly why I chose it. A book about war, mental health, and learning to live again when everything has gone wrong, it's exactly what I needed to change my reading direction, and it was everything I wanted it to be more. If you want to read a really human book, about a lot of struggles and some wins, about becoming the person you want to be, and about learning to deal with a severe trauma due to a war, than you need to pick this book up.

Following a woman named Brooke Nicole King, it begins with her, very pregnant, testifying in court. She's just been released from the line of duty because of her pregnancy, and her very life is about to completely change as she knows it. It's not easy for anyone, and learning to live with PTSD is hard enough without being pregnant with twins, but I think her story is one that I'm glad was shared, because it shows that everyone has a tough time with mental health, and that you can help yourself even when you feel hopeless and crazy.

Around the same time that Saddam Hussein was executed, Brooke deployed in Iraq. After marrying young, she often contemplates if she'll ever get out of her abusive marriage, and though it's hard to think about, she thinks about it often. This book is for the most part about what she had to do in the army, and what she had to go through, and how hard it is to cope with severe trauma because of it. She watched many people die, and though she could change it if she was able to, it's just something that she has to live with and move on from. She never had the easiest childhood, but a war was something completely different, and something that had to be dealt with in a different way.

This book is haunting, and I can promise you that it's something I'll be thinking about for a long time. I think that Brooke King is probably one of the toughest people I've read about lately, fictional or real. If you decide to read this book, know that it's mostly retellings of stories about her life and the war, and that there are a few intense scenes, but that if you want to know her entire story, you'll just have to push through it, and survive like she did. I think that this book is an amazing way to get to know how deeply affected people are by war in general, and how hard it is to come back to your normal life after that. I really got an entirely new viewpoint about the topic reading this, and I want a copy for my bookshelf. 

Thanks for reading!
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The war in Iraq seems to be something that the general population has shoved into a tightly closed box in their memories, something that happened “a few years ago that we would rather not talk about”. I don’t think people had any idea, have any idea, what it was like out there. I don’t really myself, only the images I have seen over the years on TV, and the words that came out of my friend’s mouth when he stayed with me for three days before going back to his family for his two weeks leave. NYC and my party lifestyle were the buffer between what he saw every day in Iraq and the life with his wife and kids he had to go back to for a while. I listened, but still had no real idea. I was intrigued when I read that Brooke King had written her own memoir about life as a female soldier in Iraq, and life after deployment. It’s rare to read about modern war and combat from the perspective of a woman soldier.

There is a moment in the book that struck me to the core, and I think it is extremely telling: on her return Brooke makes the move to go to the VA and seek help for her nightmares and general anxiety (and so much more than that). She mentions that she has been in combat and instead of listening to her they take her down to an area where all the severely injured vets are and tell her to stop lying. Women don’t see combat. Right? How removed from reality does the population of this country need to be to not even to begin to understand the wars that their country is fighting, the people who are fighting for them?

War Flower is written as a collection of essays, some of them more poem than prose. The timeline kind of jumps around all over the place which has its good sides and it’s not so good sides. I like how it vividly portrays the confusion, the darkness and the surrealism of war, specifically the war in Iraq. I did find it a little annoying at times because nothing flows, the chopped up approach works for the most part but can be a little frustrating. I had to put it down for a day but found it too compelling to leave for longer... That said you can read each chapter as a stand-alone story, which has its benefits. 

This is in no shape or form an easy read, but it is in my opinion a must read. Brooke is a brilliant writer, a poet, and she doesn’t beat around the bush. You read what she saw, she doesn’t whitewash war for the reader, which I’m glad about, even though there are passages that will make you want to vomit. You are not going to read about what you imagine you are going to read about. But you are going to read some hard truths: death, violence, PTSD, the war machine and the erasure of humanity in each other, the erasure of self, and more death and violence. You leave as a 19 year old and come back as a 21 year old carrying the baggage of war, violence, and death, and are expected to tuck it away and make it into something palatable for us to digest.

It’s easy for us to sit at home and judge based on what we see on our screens. It’s easy for us to think that we can ask soldiers questions we would never think to ask anyone else (I mean who asks a soldier how many people they have killed? What kind of effed up question is that?!), and it’s easy for us to forget about wars when they aren’t on our home ground and don’t technically affect “us”. War Flower provides a different, but necessary perspective on modern war, and on war as a female soldier.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy! A harrowing, stark read that will give you a new perspective.
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Great book. High quality writing 
Highly recommended
Thank you to both NetGalley and Potomac Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest unbiased review
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