Review: Sunrise Over Fallujah

Sunrise over Fallujah – Walter Dean Myers

Blame my recent lack of reviews on this book; I just could not bring myself to pick it up. Instead, I caught up on podcasts and worked on finishing my honeymoon cross-stitch project.

I’d never read Myers’ Vietnam War “classic,” Fallen Angels, so I don’t know how the two books compare. But they are linked by the narrator of this book, Robin, who is the nephew of the main character in that other book and writes a few letters home to him. Robin joins up at the beginning of the war and as a part of Civilian Affairs he’s not on the front lines, but once the first fighting is over there aren’t really any front lines. His unit is supposed to be working on gaining the good will of the Iraqis though as often as that means they play a pick up game of soccer, they’re trading hostages for detonators.

This is neither a bad nor controversial book. It’s just a boring one. Robin’s voice, especially in his letters home, was overly formal and did not ring true. Beyond that, it felt like Myers was checking off a list of points that he wanted to make about war and this war in particular. There was no deeper insight into the conflict or the lives of soldiers.

Teachers will probably assign this (a lot did over the summer) and it has enough complexity that it might be a good jumping off point for discussions. But it wasn’t gripping or illuminating.

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