Book of the Month: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson – Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2007

This is the true story of U.S. Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, member of Seal Team 10 whose team suffered horrific losses in Afghanistan in 2005. After a fierce battle against al Qaeda terrorists, Luttrell was the only member of his team still alive. Against all odds, with terrible injuries, and with the knowledge that his brothers-in-arms are all dead, Luttrell survives.

This book truly shows how detrimental ROEs (rules of engagement) are to our troops. Luttrell very clearly explains how they prevent American service men and women from acting quickly against enemies and costing American lives because the ROEs basically put the rights of enemies before the safety of American soldiers and instill fear of prosecution and imprisonment in soldiers who are merely trying not to get killed. He also shows how American media damages and condemns soldiers, and how the enemy uses our own media to their advantage. The power of the media actually cripples American forces by their constant biased broadcasts about American soldiers in war zones. It is horrible that our troops are subjected to this.

Luttrell’s true story is like a train that has jumped the track. You know something terrible and deadly and tragic is coming, but all you can do is keep reading and wait for the inevitable body count. I am so sorry for his loss. I don’t think I have ever read a book that was as upsetting and haunting as this one. When I read the last page and closed the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about the men who died because they followed ROEs instead of their instincts. I couldn’t stop thinking of the pain and loss that Luttrell endured.

I selected this as my Book of the Month because it is being turned into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg that will be released in January 2014, and I find myself wishing they wouldn’t make this movie. The story of Seal Team 10 doesn’t need to be “Hollywood-ized.” It is incredible, tragic, heartbreaking, and eye-opening as told in the words of its only survivor. It doesn’t need big-name celebrities or over-the-top action sequences. The book is powerful enough on its own.

Do yourself a favor and read the book before the movie comes out. Get the true story of what happened to Marcus Luttrell and the heroes of Seal Team 10.

Book of the Month: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Wow, this book. I knew as soon as I read the descriptive blurb that this story was not going to have a happy ending, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for the crushing grief that consumes the narrator as he listens to the tapes from a girl who committed suicide, a girl he loved but was too afraid to pursue. There are so many themes to this book: guilt, despair, remorse, indifference, isolation, persecution, but as I kept reading all I could think was every teenager, every school student, every bully should be made to read this book, to see how actions, jokes, and rumors that seem harmless can cut deep; how seemingly insignificant incidents can build and build and build until they crush a person to the point that anything and everything are simply too much to bear. The story Asher tells here is incredible, tragic, and haunting.

I read 13 Reasons Why in June 2011 and could not stop thinking about. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. For weeks after I turned the last page, Hannah and Clay haunted me. I thought about them at night when I tried to call asleep. They were in my head whenever I picked up a new book and tried to read, only to set it down as my thoughts went back to Asher’s masterpiece. I kept thinking what if she’d…. What if he’d… But she didn’t and he didn’t, and so we are left with the fallout of a tragedy.

This is such an incredible book. If you haven’t read it, get your hands on a copy. If you have read it, take it down from the shelf and read it again and then pass it on to someone. The world needs to read this book.