Friday, January 9, 2009

Story of the Sand by Mark. B. Pickering

Copyright: 2008
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: on the book it's listed as Military Fiction
Pages: 214
Challenges: 9 books for 2009 – cover (ugliest)(I just don't like it)
New-to-me author? Yes

Simple Description
I took the following from the Author's website:

After spending months fighting in the sands of Iraq, Sampson Roy has returned to his home in Georgia a changed man. Gone is the patriotic optimist who went off to serve his country, and in his stead is a bitter, resentful pessimist.

Sampson is unable to cope with society, and the government could care less about his problems. His psychological damage from what he witnessed in the Middle East has ruined his marriage and left him a pariah to those he formerly loved. He retreats to the woods, drowning his demons in a bottle of liquor. But in the midst of his suffering, a ghost appears named David Tree, a dead soldier from the Iraqi conflict who has been unable to pass to the other side. David brings unexpected news: Sampson's wife is pregnant.

With a new burst of hope, Sampson cautiously leaves the woods. But his alcoholism and self-destructive nature brand him an outcast, and his wife refuses to reconcile. Deep in his heart, Sampson wants to raise his newborn child and return to the life he once had. Finding the courage to conquer his addiction may be too much, yet he has to try—even if it ultimately destroys him. Haunting and powerful, Story of the Sand is a searing portrait of war's destruction of the individual soldier.

Why did I read this book?

I was asked if I would like a copy to review and after reading the above description, I thought it was something I would enjoy.

About the book:

From what I listed above, you would think that the entire book was about Sampson and his road to recovery, with lots of obstacles in his way. However it's not. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the book is devoted to Sampson but we also learn about Mary (his wife), David Tree (the ghost), Sheila (David's wife), and Tommy and several other characters. In the beginning of the book Sampson is living in a tent in the woods. He comes out only when he needs liquor and some food. He does take showers, he doesn't care about himself. He holds up a liquor store, and that's when things get worse. He is terrified the cops will be after him. He begins to see David, or Grouchy as he calls him. Grouchy tells him he needs to get better and that he needs to go back to Mary, his wife, because she's pregnant. Eventually Sampson does go out of the woods and he is put into the hospital and cleaned up. They can't keep him though so he is once again on the streets. He finds Sheila and Mary. Mary wants nothing to do with him. Sheila takes him to a VA hospital. Eventually he leaves there too. He ends up living with a girl for awhile and getting her pregnant. He decides that since Mary wants nothing to do with him, he will take care of this girl and his future child. However it's not as easy as it seems. Sampson and the new girl are both drunks. While he tries to kick the habit, it's not so easy. Then they go to live with her parents and things get even more complicated.

What I liked most:

I thought Sampson's story was interesting. I thought it was interesting to see how he was treated when he came back from the war and how he handled the war itself. I was rooting for him to get better and go back to Mary, even though he acted like a jerk most of the time.

Was there something I didn't like?

From the info I took from the author's website you know that David Tree is a ghost. I don't mind that at all. However, here's the problem. We end up learning about David's life. I didn't' think it was relevant to the story. This story isn't about David. Also, a lot of the book was devoted to what David is doing as a ghost and the other ghosts he meets. There is a conflict between him and another ghost. I couldn't figure out why any of this was in the story and didn't find it relevant at all. In fact, when these sections would come up, I would skim until the end of the section and then start reading again. Maybe it was supposed to be a fight of good verses evil, I don't really know. I also couldn't figure out why we were getting so much info on Sheila, she was David's wife. I just think this was a side story that wasn't necessary to the story. In fact, Tommy's story wasn't necessary either.

Do I recommend the book?

This is a tough one for me. I can't tell you that I loved the book, I didn't even like it. I thought it was ok. I thought Sampson's story was interesting and I wanted to find out what would happen. If the book had stayed with Sampson and not gone off in other directions with other character's, I think I would have liked it a heck of a lot more. So I can't say no, I don't think you should read it, but I can't tell you that you'll be missing out if you do. I think this is really one of those books where some are going to like it, some are going to find it a waste of time, and others are going to be on the fence like me.

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Leave me a comment to let me know and I'll link it below.

A Soldier's Mind – I wanted to include this one because some of the people who commented said they really liked the book and at least one mentioned liking the ghost aspect

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris

1 comment:

Isabel said...

Thanks for including this book for 9 for '09 challenge. Yes, the cover is ugly. I could come up with better sandy pictures.