Finding Jack: A Novel ハードカバー – 2011/2/15
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"Rarely have I read so moving an account of the heroism of animals, the compassion of the humans who love them, and the transformational relation ships that can spring up between the two. This is a story that will continue to live with you long after you've turned the last page."--Gwen Cooper, author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Homer's Odyssey""Like angels, great dogs find us, then lead us home. "Finding Jack" is the story of a man who had lost his way, and with the help of a selfless, heroic dog, finds it again. A story of redemption, determination, and unstoppable love, "Finding Jack" compels us to ask the question: do we have what it takes to be a hero?"--Steve Duno, author of "Last Dog on the Hill"""Finding Jack" is more than a novel of the relationship between a man and his faithful companion. It is the story of the bonds between man and dog, warriors and best friends. "Finding Jack" shows us the lengths that one man is willing to go to -- and the rules he's willing to break at the risk of his own life -- to save the life of another being. As a Marine who's seen his share of combat and rescued a dog from certain death in hell, I can relate to the many unspoken reasons for not only finding, but saving, Jack.This story is about humanity and doing what it takes to maintain your humanity in the face of depravity." --Jay Kopelman, author of the "New York Times" bestseller "From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava"商品の説明をすべて表示する
If you are a dog lover, you will not want to miss this one, but if you are looking for an accurate picture of the military, the war in Vietnam that deal with interaction between service men and a service dog, I recommend that you read Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Bret Witter instead. I enjoyed both.
I loved this book for the same reasons that I loved the movie Old Yeller. Both stories stared smart, loveable yellow labs that fiercely protect their human friends from danger. Both held my interest from beginning to end and left me feeling satisfied. Both were mesmerizing fictions that touched my heart strings and moistened my eyes. I will remember both for a long time to come.
Although this story is set primarily in Vietnam during the final year of combat there, this story is really about the bond between a man and a dog and the lengths they will go to maintain their relationship.
Unable to cope with the unexpected loss of his wife and child, Fletcher Carson wants to die. Rather than committing suicide he decides to fight and die in Vietnam. Fearless, he has killed several dozen enemy combatants while on unbelievable missions. On one such mission, he snaps and disobeys his commanding officer, Rogan Brock who orders him to shoot an approaching wounded dog--Jack.
Against all odds, Jack survives four bullet wounds and not only becomes the unit's source of morale, but also a valuable lifesaving asset to his fellow soldiers.
With the war all but over and high level command's decision that all of the war dogs are to be left behind, Fletcher is determined to save Jack and bring him back to America.
The author takes the reader on an unbelievable ride, stretching the imagination of just how strong the bond between a man and his dog can be.
Gareth Crocker takes some pretty long incredulous strides that may stretch the readers' willingness to buy into the story. As a retired Vietnam veteran, I can tell you that I did take offense a few times at the author's insensitivity and ignorance about servicemen and Vietnam; however, I reminded myself that this is a fictional story that needed this setting to develop Jack, Fletcher and the other characters in this story. I put on my thick-skin and read Finding Jack in one sitting.
I believe that most people, especially dog lovers will really enjoy this fictional adventure. Crocker is an outstanding storyteller with impressive writing skills that will keep the reader interested and rapidly flipping pages from beginning to end.
Where the book failed utterly was in the setting. I realize the setting was only there to document the lengths one man went to in order to save a dog, but a good 2/3 of the book covered combat in Vietnam. I believe it was inherent that the author, and more importantly, the editors at St. Martin's Press, to make sure the military aspect of the book rang true. It is not as if there are not Vietnam vets around who could have even served as beta readers. A simple call to any local VFW post would have garnered a number of volunteers.
From combat scenes that were simply ludicrous, a total disregard for military etiquette, improper military terminology, imaginary weapons systems, and inaccurate descriptions of military life in Vietnam, the entire setting of the story was on a very faulty foundation. The existence of a Vietnamese camp deep inside Laos was bad enough, but two Viet Cong soldiers appearing 30 miles inside Thailand just buggers the mind. To be honest, from a military standpoint, this was about the worst Vietnam-based book I have read.
Aside from the military problems, I have to question some of the author's choices. Fletcher, the protagonist, lost his wife and daughter in the crash of the new airplane, the "Odyssey." I don't understand why he made an imaginary airplane when that contributed nothing to the plot. Fletcher's loss was vital to the plot, but why interject such an obvious fantasy? Why not a real crash, a car crash, or anything else? And why rely on so much happenstance with regards to characters introduced earlier in the story? It further stretched the bounds of credibility. Another issue was the crass stereotypes of Asians. I found these bothersome and more than a little ridiculous.
So with all those problems, why do I still give this three stars? Because in the core of the book, the story of a man and his dog, I think he succeeded. The writing might have been overwrought at times, but it still successfully told the story, it was able to interject the emotions of the story into the reader. I cared what happened to Fletcher, I cared what happened to Jack.
From the military standpoint, this book rates one star, in my opinion. As a story about relationships, I would probably give it five stars. Hence, the three stars overall.
I think Vietnam vets and most military vets from all eras will have major problems with the book. I think Asians and Asian-Americans will be bothered by the stereotypes. But I think dog lovers and people who don't care about literary accuracy will like it very much.