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Monday, 23 January 2017

More Half-Cut Than Deepcut!

Riffle through Google’s top pages and you may discover what really happens at the British Armed Forces’s Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, Surrey.

Or scan the daily newspapers and you will soon learn the truth of what evil may befall a serving soldier far from the battle field and the devastating consequences for his or her family.

Unlikely SoldiersBut this is largely airbrushed from Unlikely Soldiers Book One ** by Deb McEwan, a novel that examines the life of U.K. military recruits during the 1970s.

I am an ex-pat Brit living in Israel, a country of compulsory enlistment; where almost every family on all sides has been adversely affected by regular wars and almost incessant terrorism. So while everyone shows a brave face and tries to maintain a sense of humour, I’m unsure that I’m able to recommend this trivial black comedy which, in fewer than two hundred pages, reduces army service to a mix of verbal and physical fights, binge-drinking, sex romps and car crashes.

Deb.McEwanTo observe that many young (British) people join up to escape domestic misery is a platitude. But McEwan, herself a former soldier, is apparently unaware of love for monarch, flag or country and marches on regardless.

** Unlikely Soldiers Book One: (Civvy to Squaddie) is available from Amazon (Kindle, $0.99; Paperback, $7.99).

© Natalie Wood (23 January 2017)

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