Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The writing style is a little different to regular novels but it’s still smooth, and most importantly, captures the feelings and spirit of reluctant hero Billy Lynn through what is said and what’s left unsaid.
The hard part is the world that surrounds Billy – the glorification, commercialism and hollywoodism (yes, I know this isn’t a word but it should be) of American football, thanksgiving and war.
Imagine being able to hold a gun and die for your country but you can’t legally have a beer, or, having had someone die in your arms, but never held someone after making love… It’s absurd, but its the truth, and its truths like these that come up as Bill Lynn reflects on the Victory tour of the US that he and his fellow Bravo team members are on.
This is war novel, but its a war novel set on the home front. It doesn’t glorify the war, it doesn’t detail horrific battle scenes, instead it brings to light other views. The family left behind. The hype of the media. The reactions of general public. The loneliness, and helplessness of a soldier who doesn’t really know what they are doing, let alone what they want.
It’s also a funny, some seriously dysfunctional individuals who on their own don’t work but when surrounded by the rest of the pack function at the highest level.
Billy, Sargent Dime, Mango and the rest of the Bravo squad make you laugh, and then feel awkward about laughing as the plausibility of what’s written actually being real hits you.
In short, Ben Franklin’s debut novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a worthy read.