Fobbit: War and Press Releases

FobbitI am writing today during a somewhat strange hail storm. It is raining ping pong balls outside! But enough about weather — let’s talk about war. WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Well, sometimes, good reading. I was really excited when I picked up Fobbit by David Abrams. A satire based on the Iraq War sounds pretty interesting right? Well, I didn’t love Fobbit. It made me chuckle at times but it wasn’t nearly as funny or dark as I wanted it to be. What’s meant to be mean and funny, seems to only come off as mean. All the characters suck. I can barely remember their names. There, I can be mean and not funny too.

Fobbit is based on Abram’s personal experience as a public affairs officers in the US Army during the Iraq War. Fobbit is a derogatory term for the paper pushing soldiers stationed in war zones but never see battle. They are safe in their Fobbit holes while braver soldiers get blown up. Members of the Public Affairs live it up in their air conditioned quarters, drafting press release after press release about dead soldiers.

But most of the story isn’t even about the horrors of writing wartime fluff. I would have enjoyed that more. In fact, I was hoping for something like Thank You For Smoking meets Apocalypse Now but that sounds difficult to pull off now that I say it out loud.

fobbit_palace3

No, most of the book is about the crazy antics of Fobbits who are bored out of their minds waiting to return to the US. There are moments of action but I found Fobbit unsatisfying as both war fiction and satire. With a war that seems to make little sense, I was hoping Fobbit would exploit that meaninglessness just a little more.

I’d like to use this as an excuse to show you more awesome photographs taken by Richard Mosse of Saddam Hussein’s abandoned palaces — which is where the Fobbits in this story were stationed.

fobbit_palace2 fobbit_saddampalace

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