Eat the Apple

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

Classed as a memoir, Eat the Apple is a collection of vignettes about Matt Young's three tours of combat duty in Iraq. Some of the vignettes take place stateside, while the others take place in Iraq or enroute to Iraq. These vignettes provide an intimate look into the world of a Marine, specifically one who is full of despair and anger. Young's questions of what's the point of this war? what's the point of war? is it worth it? what happens when I go home? How do I act when I'm home? Does anyone home understand me? guide the underlying tone of fear. A great look inside.
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Amazing memoir. Some things I had trouble believing, but not in a bad way! In a "wow, that's incredible!" way, if you know what I'm saying.
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Extremely dark military humor. I didn't think I'd like as much of this as I did, but I found the narrative style to be kind of quirky and interesting. I also enjoyed the lists and diagrams throughout the book. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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EAT THE APPLE by Matt Young is an offbeat, stylistically complex memoir about the author’s experience as marine over multiple tours in Iraq. The chapters drift between first, second and third person. Some have pictures, some others are vignettes. The choppiness and frequent use of the third person made the narrator seem distant and unknowable, but I suspect that was the intention. As a whole, this book offers a frank, cynical and DARK glimpse into war and hyper-masculine culture. Young is very brave for writing about his experiences with such candor, although I can’t say I felt connected to the narrative.
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I don't know what I can say other than the fact that the book muddles and meanders the experience of active duty in foreign countries and makes biases, trainings, bombs and occupying forces seem like a stinking blur. The author was very clearly not the right fit for military service - and yet volunteered 3 times to go to IRAQ - and thinks sore ex-military loser-rednecks are directly responsible for electing Trump (read the introduction!). I don't know what the author wants people to know about his time other than the fact that war is no fun, neither is the military nor his personal or psychological life.
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Full review via BookBrowse link below*. Talented debut author. Recommended read.
From the first moment of Marine Corps enlistment through boot camp and three deployments to Iraq, Young remembers his experiences in short episodes. A cinematic attention to setting is juxtaposed with the author’s interior sense of being.
Short, creative chapters flash forward and back in time. Chapter titles like “Choose Your Own Adventure”, “How to Feel Ashamed for Things You Never Did”, “Meeting the Mortar God” and “Brothers” summon the reader behind the scenes of the military and also into the musings of one particular enlisted Marine. Most of these chapters could stand alone; collected, they resonate with a creative thirst to make sense of life in a war zone, and life after deployment, and life in general.
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Eat the Apple by Matt Young is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January.

An extremely slice-of-life, confrontational, in-the-moment memoir of Matt Young, a U.S. Marine recruit, who uses mixed media (dialogue in script form, anatomical charts, beat poetry, emblematic logos and diagrams, handdrawn maps) to talk about maintaining interpersonal relationships and his own mortality, despite his injuries, mental calculatedness, and enumerated ruminations.
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A funny, sad, honest memoir of a Marine's life before, during and after deployments in Iraq. Told alternately through detached, speaking-of-myself-in-the-third-person prose, comics and drawings, bullet-point lists, and even a short play, Eat the Apple is a really unique take on the soldier memoir. But despite the humor Young sprinkles throughout the book, the underlying current of fear, anger and despair shines through, gnawing away at our narrator as he, and we the readers, contemplate the questions: What's the point of war, anyway? Is it worth the cost? And what happens when a young man, trained to kill, comes home?
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"It's important to understand bullets don't stop just because they hit something."

Matt Young enlists in the Marines in the early 00's and eventually lives through three deployments to Iraq. It's a very dark war story with all of the typical 'no atheists in foxholes' kind of nihilism, but this is definitely not your typical memoir. There are medical diagnosis charts, screenplay scripts, second person narration, drawings, letters, and other formats that made this book darkly funny, and at times, extremely serious.

I don't know, though. Even though I liked this memoir, the variety of formats presented weren't enough to keep me from skimming through multiple sections that held little interest to me. Perhaps because I am not well-schooled in the ways of combat, deployment, the Marines, or any branch of the Armed Services, for that matter.

I give this book 3.5 stars for originality. 

**This review will be posted on on 12.21.17
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"You’ve chosen the United States Marine Corps infantry based on one thing: You got drunk last night and crashed your car into a fire hydrant sometime in the early morning…"

Matt Young, searching for some excitement, joins the infantry and lives to tell the tale. Well, kind of.

"Your experience will not be what you think. You wear glasses. Heroes don’t wear glasses… You will become the villain."

This isn't going to be an action-filled, angsty, or darkly realistic memoir. It's going to be all three, and more.

Young plays with form, using diagnosis charts, second-person stories, screenplay-like scripts, first-person narratives, diagrams, and how-to manuals. It's a risk, but, in my opinion, it really paid off.

However, I do have to admit that I skimmed. It was easy to skip over certain things. Maybe it's because I'm reading online, which I'm the worst at. Maybe it's because I'm not the target audience. Maybe it's just me.

Even so, I love the mix of seriousness and humor here. Like, come on, look at this:

“The girl thinks that the boy’s impulsivity is romantic. It makes her feel wanted” (58).

“Jerking off has saved countless lives throughout countless wars” (72).

Come on. That's just the best.

**Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for allowing me to read an ARC of this memoir for free in exchange for an honest review.**
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