Pub Date 13 Jan 2018
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Molly Monroe had her future planned out for her. When she makes an impulsive decision to join the Marine Corps, her boyfriend breaks up with her, her brother bears the burden of guilt, and her mother feels betrayed. The people in Molly’s life have always tried to protect her, but she wants to protect herself.
As a Combat Camera Marine, Molly observes and records her environment from behind the lens, where image shapes day-to-day life. After she is wounded during a combat deployment, her dreams are frightening, and her memories are a kaleidoscope of scattered and chaotic scenes; a collision of past and present, real and unreal. Snapshots in time. Glimpses of war. Fragments of love: lost and found.
This story unfolds through multiple perspectives and as the negatives and positives develop, an image of the Model Marine is sharpened into focus.
Sondra Sykes Meek has crafted a deeply compelling novel about a young woman who gives up the bright lights of modeling and pageants to join the Marine Corps. Using a camera and her journalistic skills, her grit and determination take the reader ‘outside the wire’ where she encounters the truths of the warrior lifestyle while simultaneously protecting a closely held secret. An engrossing read, Model Marine is a book I’m excited to recommend.
Stephanie Austin Edwards – Author of What We Set in Motion: A Novel
Model Marine by Sondra Sykes Meek will be a satisfying sprint down memory lane for all who’ve earned the eagle, globe, and anchor: the reactions of family members and friends to the decision to join; the bonds formed with fellow recruits or officer candidates; the professional and personal relationships that develop with each new assignment; and the growth that inevitably comes with military service, whether it’s a few years or a lengthy career.
… Molly Monroe can hardly be called a typical Marine… She and the other characters in Model Marine learn lessons essential to the Corps experience: everything is done for a reason, and actions have consequences. At Camp Leatherneck and outside the wire, they apply those lessons to create a realistic picture of combat. This coming-of-age story will engage readers of all ages while reinforcing the values of critical thinking and the courage of convictions.
Colonel Roxanne Waters Cheney, USMC, Retired
Emotional. Compelling. Intense. Brilliant. All words I would use to describe Model Marine by Sondra Sykes Meek. Classified as other fiction, I highly recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys a spellbinding read.
Molly Monroe enjoys acting on stage; her mother has had her in beauty pageants since she was a toddler. She and her best friend Beth are planning on attending the North Carolina School of the Arts together. Molly surprises everyone the summer after graduation, though, when she enters the Marine Corps.
Her mother is furious and refuses to talk to her. But life in the military is good for Molly. Stationed in Afghanistan as a Combat Camera Marine, she takes photographs and writes articles for publication. She only wishes that she would be allowed outside the wire once in a while.
Molly's story is told in flashes much as the pictures she takes with her camera. The author skillfully weaves the plot together going backward and forward in time at will. Rather than be confusing, this adds a hint of mystery as the reader pieces together what has happened. I was so enthralled with the glimpses of information I was getting that I couldn't stop reading until I assembled the whole picture. Ms. Meek does so well at letting the reader know who is speaking and giving clues about the time frame that at no point did I get lost…
There is no hesitation or uncertainty in my rating of this book. I rate Model Marine a solid 4 out of 4 stars. I honestly can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book other than perhaps those who suffer from PTSD (as it might bring back unpleasant memories.)