Thursday, June 25, 2015

American Sniper

Overview from Barnes and Nobel:

NOW A BLOCKBUSTER MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD—NOMINATED FOR SIX ACADEMY AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film






Today I finally finished reading American Sniper. I am going to just tell it like it is as far as my opinion. I am sure I won't have a popular opinion, but to anyone who knows me, it doesn't matter. Because it is my opinion.

As I said before, if I had met Chris Kyle in person, I am sure I would never have liked him. He is very conceited and full of himself. Maybe that is how you have to be to be a sniper. I don't know. I always had the opinion that SEALS did not brag about what they did. But this guy was very full of himself and loved to brag. I just don't like those kinds of people.

The writing of the book, in my opinion, was terrible. It seemed dull and juvenile. I know  he had help from a writer but I just didn't feel like it read well. He seemed to skip around a lot. None of the characters were very well developed. Well except for Chris Kyle. That one I felt I got to know too well. I wonder, if in life, he was really just like this.

First of all I hate war. And this particular war is one I never agreed with. I don't understand why we, as Americans, feel it is okay to go into other countries and kill people just because we don't agree with their lifestyle. Isn't that what we hate so much about them coming into our country and trying to kill us? How do we justify all of this. It is probably not something I will ever be able to understand. 

I have heard people describe their feelings as they read this book: they laughed, they cried, they couldn't put the book down. Mostly I cringed, shuddered, and had to force myself to get to the end. Because I hate to not finish a book once I start it.

Killing insurgents in Iraq was one thing. I could (kind of) wrap my head around why that was being done. But all the bar fights and hazing ceremonies he described made me think more of adolescents trying to prove they are tough. Time for grown men to get over themselves. This was a grown man who had a family back in the United States. Although, according to him, they came in third in his life. He believed that it was God, Country, and then family. I couldn't be married to a man who always put me last.

I felt sorry for his wife throughout the book. I know she stayed with him because she loved him and she had vowed to stay through better or worse. I understand she is writing a book. This is a book I will want to read. Although, after his death, I am sure her views of the situation will be somewhat glazed over. Maybe not.

I want to end this with saying: Chris Kyle wanted the world to see him as a 'badass'. The only way I ended up seeing him was as 'bad' and an 'ass'. That is why I don't think I would have liked him.

I do plan to see the movie. Maybe I will have a better feel for him after seeing it.

With that being said I do respect the American soldiers for the job they have to do. I thank them for keeping our country free. But I don't have to like them!!

22 comments:

  1. I agree with last statement: I thank them for keeping our country free but I don't have to like them. You do not have to like them for sure.
    In efforts to Agree to Disagree- I believe Chris Kyle is a hero. He lived and died really not too far from Dallas. Because he was one of our "Own", we had probably more news coverage that everyone else. Everyone liked him and had only good things and stories to share. I have to believe then that he didn't act like an ass to everyone.
    I am also interested in reading Tayas book. It was also very emotional when she was at the Oscars with his dog tags to support the movie with Bradley Cooper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I respect your opinion. I can only base my opinion on what I read in the book. He came across as very arrogant.

      Delete
  2. I have mixed emotions about seeing this movie. I will most likely, but I know it will be hard in many ways. Did you ever see Unbroken?

    Linda in VA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I saw Unbroken and read the book. The book was very good. It was a horrific novel about the war. Never once did I find those American soldiers to be arrogant like I did Chris Kyle.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for the review, Paula. I do agree that it probably takes a bit of arrogance to do what he would have been trained to do, I do think perhaps writing about it was maybe not in his best interest, know what I mean? Hubby's dad did some covert operations during WW2 and other military time but was not authorized to talk about it and definitely not write about it. Chris definitely did have his priorities wrong, God first, yes I agree with that one, but definitely family second. I do want to see the movie sometime. Let us know if you read his wife's book.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Betty. I agree that it was probably necessary to be arrogant. But it was the writing about it in the way that he did what bothered me. I have family who were in the Viet Nam war and never were their stories told. Just how it was. I will let you know if I read the wife's book.

      Delete
  4. I did not read the book. I did see the movie and thought it was very profound and very disturbing. This may be one instance where the movie is better than the book because you cannot see or hear his thoughts and see that side of his personality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's my understanding that the movie doesn't make him seem so egotistical and I might like it better. I am planning to see it in the future.

      Delete
  5. I don't plan on reading the book, so thanks for telling me about it. I probably wouldn't like him either. There's something about that life that attracts a certain type of person. I'm grateful to those that go out and do those things. We do need them. But just like in anything, not all who are called are the types of people we want to hang out with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That type of job does take a certain type of guy. But I am not sure that all of them are as egotistical as this guy was. But I don't know!

      Delete
  6. My second cousin who was a Navy Seal was very meek, sweet and mild around the family. I know the military is ripe with tradition and a lot of that is hazing and such. I do think that some things that men do, they have to have an abundance of confidence and bravado to be able to do it. But then, too, I have a brother-in-law who was an expert marksman in the Army and he has never bragged or boasted about it, though he didn't see active duty. The Sheriff's Dept. did call him in once a long time ago to help them determine if a shooting was accidental or done by a highly skilled marksman. Who knows if that was the real him or not as he portrayed himself in the book? Suppose we will never know. But soldiers go where ordered. And I'm thankful there are men like him standing guard over our troops and our land.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep I am sure that the military is full of tradition. I don't know if I would still approve of the way they go about hazing people. I can't see how that makes them a better soldier. My grandson wants to go into the Marines and he sees nothing wrong with it at all. In fact, he loved this book! I guess it is necessary to protect our land.

      Delete
  7. I was anxious to hear your thoughts, Paula!

    Arrogance is sure off-putting, isn't it? (Ironic, coming from someone who loves Donald Trump?!) OK, so we don't see eye-to-eye ... I'll 'b'-slap anyone who challenges your right to say what you think! (smile) Anyway, I too, don't care much for the order in which he lists his priorities.

    Usually, I'm disappointed by a movie, not the other way around.
    Well, I guess I just thought I wanted to read the book. Now I think I'll just save my time and money and read his widow's account. Maybe.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I love Donald Trump too. But I don't think I want him for president! I plan to see the movie Then I can make that comparison. Maybe it was just the poor style of writing that turned me off. (But I don't think so)

      Delete
  8. I've seen interviews with Chris Kyle and his wife and I never saw him as arrogant. The problem with reading 'words' is that we can't hear how they really sound. I am sure you are not as 'hateful' as this blog post sounds. I have a 50-page rule for books. If I cannot enjoy the first 50 pages the book is kicked to the curb. Done it with two best sellers recently. Try it next time you find yourself struggling to finish a text. JMHO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, I would hate to think how many great books I would have missed out on if I would have followed the 50-page rule. Usually I will finish reading what I have started. That's just the way that I am. Not everyone likes the same kinds of books. I didn't care for this one. I am not going to apologize for sounding 'hateful'. Just didn't like it. There was over 400 pages of him telling his readers how much he loved war, how much he loved killing 'savages' how much he loved bar fights and on and on and on. Made him sound arrogant to me! Not everyone might think so. And I am okay with that! Thank goodness we all live in a world where we can voice our own opinions. I never saw him in any interviews. I never even heard of him until after he was so tragically killed. Maybe I would have felt differently. But I don't think so. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  9. I agree with your comments. I hate war - even necessary wars like WWII. War is soul destroying even for those who appear to come back whole. My son served in the Marines (during peace time - thankfully). I don't have what it takes to be "military family." I am grateful beyond measure to those who serve (military and the family), it is just not me. I am also grateful to the Marines for instilling structure and discipline in my son. I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with all things military.

    I also don't care for arrogant people. But I think certain lines of work take that "full of yourself" arrogance to do well (surgeons are also in that category.) I couldn't be a sniper or a surgeon :-).

    I probably won't read the book. I might see the movie.

    As for sharing the experiences of war ... I am glad that some people do share even if it is frowned upon. Us regular folks might never know the raw ugly details what really happens in conflict unless we hear first hand accounts. I can understand some veterans not wanting to talk about it - but that just points to how dreadful the act of war really is - just to painful and damaging. I respect that but I also respect the ones who share - even if they have arrogance in their sharing. If there was more real understanding of the atrocities, there just might be less flag waving when our leaders pointed us into another war.

    That said, I know there are "bad guys" out there who wish us harm. We live in troubled times. This is a complicated subject. I wish war making (even the violence that happens on our streets) was not part of our human DNA! Maybe someday we will evolve ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right Elaine!! Yes, I worked as a nurse for more than 25 years and I met a lot of arrogant surgeons (and doctors overall). I agree that arrogance is a part of a lot of professions. And that is okay with me! I have no problems with Chris Kyle having been arrogant. If that is what it takes to get him through the experience! I just didn't like his book. That's all!

      Delete
  10. The movie did not make him look arrogant at all. He came off as very humble. I did not read the book so I was rather surprised to read that in your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am looking forward to seeing the movie so I can judge for myself. It could just be the writing style...but I don't think so!

      Delete
  11. I'll never read the book, but I agree with you about what's happened to the military in general. We now have a lot of arrogance, and it's sad for everyone. I met a marine sniper and he was the coolest man. Very self effacing. He was also a little ashamed of what he'd done, since coming back and educating himself about wars and these wars in particular. We should not be destroying our youth in this way. Sad from any angle.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think a bit of arrogance is okay. But war is not a 'glory' thing in my opinion. And it shouldn't be bragged about!!

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!