Thursday, May 16, 2013

In His Stead: A Book Review

I lied to you all last week when I said that it would be the week of book reviews.  I had every intention of doing it, of course, but then life happened.  Story of my life.  I was, however, able to finally finish the book I have been pushing though the last few weeks.

To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time getting through this one.  The book is called In His Stead: A Father's War by Judith Sanders.  This is what the back of the book says:
Retired Army Ranger Thomas Lane once burned for the taste of gunpowder and the thrill of the battle. But as he struggles to cope with his own PTSD and the death of his eldest son, killed by an IED in Afghanistan, Lane learns that the price of war is far too dear.

When the National Guard calls up Lane’s youngest son to serve, Lane knows he will do anything to save his child—even if it means going in his place, a pursuit unheard of since the Civil War when slaves were sent to war in place of their masters.
In His Stead, Judith Sander's second novel, follows Thomas Lane's crusade against the United States Army, its JAG corps, a vengeful officer, the very son he is desperate to save, and his own wife, who has the Solomon-like choice of losing either a husband or a son.

Capturing the essence of family life in wartime—the good, the bad, and the hopeful—In His Stead explores what it means to be a father and a man.
First off, I just want to start by saying that this book is definitely an emotional journey if you are into that kind of book.  Everywhere I look it up, you will find fantastic reviews, and readers that absolutely adored it.  If you love this kind of thing, you will love this book.  Go and order it right now!

As for me, and I HATE writing stuff like this because it makes me feel horrible, but I didn't really like the book.  The main character, Tom's, personality grated on me.  The first 50 pages of the book he was a bit of a whiner.  I wanted to yell at him to man up.  The fact that he encouraged his son to join the National Guard and then was absolutely SHOCKED that he got called up to be deployed was just silly to me.  We live in a day and age that if you join, chances are, you WILL be deployed.

The book was based around the idea of a father's love and what he will do for his son and how he went to war for him.  I just kept thinking that if a father should teach his son to be brave and courageous on his own and then to love him enough to step back and allow him to learn his own lessons and fight his own battles.  That by doing that is showing more than doing everything for him.  But this was how I was raised, to take personal responsibility for my OWN actions and live my own life.  This was how my husband was raised as well.  He is a third or forth generation soldier, and that's how they raise their sons to be men.  My father-in-law is currently still active in the military.  My husband is Army and he currently has 3 brothers who are enlisted as well.  I asked Ben what he would think if his dad offered to go in his place if he got deployed.  He had the MOST disgusted look on his face.  He said that first off he would lose all respect for his dad for not showing him the respect and trust he felt he deserved.  And secondly, he would be angry at him for not believing in him and letting him serve his country in the way he was raised and trained to do.

So you can see that with this mind set, this book drove me a little crazy.  But that's how we were raised and that is how we are raising our sons.  We are the fighters now, and one day we will need to step aside and hope that our children can carry our touch on and take what we teach them to make this world a better place.  It would be an injustice to take away that opportunity from them.

Now, this book has all sorts of "reasoning" for what the characters did.  And if you go for that sort of thing, then great, you will love this book.  But my brain is wired a little different.

But don't let my review deter you from checking this book out, after all, I didn't like Twilight either, and we all know how popular THAT series is.


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