With all the packing and craziness involved with the remodeling, it took me a while to finish off the last couple chapters of SUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH. I did have one of those lovely reader moments, though, at the front desk of my hotel in Rockport-Fulton when the woman working the desk commented on the book and asked if I had read KITE RUNNER and other novels set in that part of the world. Books connect us in so many ways.
In any event, Walter Dean Myers' latest gives us Robin, the nephew of Richie (from FALLEN ANGELS) off to Iraq. Through his eyes, we see war, a war a little different from the one in which his uncle fought. Robin (nicknamed Birdy by one of his fellow soldiers) and his group are serving not as infantrymen but as a unit that will interact more with the Iraqi people. That does not mean, however, that they are safe from the IEDs, grenades, snipers, and other horrors of the battle. Nor are they immune to the hype being broadcast. Through Robin's eyes, readers will see that this is a war being played out in many battlefields in Iraq, in the media, and here at home as well. Myers walks a careful line here, trying valiantly to allow Robin's observations and those of his squad to provide information and multiple perspectives. It is clear, though, that the war as reported and the war as waged are two different entities. The complexities of the various tribes (Sunni, Shiite, etc.) are factors that make the war in Iraq one that continues more than 5 years after that banner proclaimed MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.