Current read: Vietnam novel _Frenchy’s Whore_

The main reason for the blogging hiatus has been real life happening, and it continues to happen, though Radcon is coming and I may be sober enough late at night to post summaries.  (I am, in great pain, replacing the caulking in my guest room shower.  Does anyone want me to blog about this?)  But in the interim, I’ve been reading a novel about the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam by Verne E. Brewer, Frenchy’s Whore.

I learned of this tale by meeting the author himself playing a Facebook game.  He impressed me as a good guy who hung out with good people, and a little experimentation satisfied me that my rather unorthodox social perspective needn’t divide us.  I’m always interested in descriptions of warfare from those in a position to know, since I’ve never been in that kind of war.

So far I’m quite impressed by Brewer’s descriptive talent.  I wish I’d been there to do some editing, but that would be mainly proofreading and very minor orthographic adjustments; he paints a scene with the sort of talent you expect of a far more seasoned writer.  Though it’s presented as a novel, Brewer doesn’t make any pretense that it is other than an autobiographical work.  So far I like the presentation, especially the story about chucking the CS grenade in the 1SG’s quarters.  While my father-in-law was a jumping first sergeant, and evidently one hell of a good one, I can easily imagine that some of them needed a tear gas grenade chucked into their rooms while drunk.

Looking forward to seeing how the book develops.  Brewer is quite candid that it was a form of therapy to help him process and come to terms with the experience that was Vietnam, but I think he’s also got messages in here, as do most authors worth their salt.


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