Title: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir
Published: 27th December 2016
Author: Michael Anthony
After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home – or at least back on US soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two months later, Michael was stoned on Vicodin, drinking way too much, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. At his wit’s end, he came to an agreement with himself: If things didn’t improve in three months, he was going to kill himself. Civilianized is a memoir chronicling Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.
Review might be late but this still goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A memoir. A biography memoir bringing to life what can happen when you get back home after war. You might physically be back but mentally and emotionally are two other matters entirely.
Michael was clearly struggling, like so many I’m sure, and this seems to be an almost therapeutic way of putting everything out there for people to see. The darker side of how people cope (or don’t cope) with when they get back. Drinking, smoking, drugs, sex, everything to the excess. It seems to be a way to drown out memories or feelings so you can just get through the day.
There was an interesting mix of people throughout that Michael met along the way in the first three months after getting back. The dating guru of sorts was funny in his methods, along with the others from the class. Finally going to PTSD and drug addiction meetings was a step in the right direction but maybe not the right kind of meeting with the other people that were there. With the meetings anyway you have to want to be there to see any benefit or else you are just going through the motions and not getting anything back from it.
I feel the abrupt ending worked well because in life nothing is tied up with a happy big bow on it to finish things off. This isn’t the end anyway but more like a true beginning. With fiction you can create the ending you want. With fact it’s real life and nothing in life that’s worth having is easy.
I did feel at times that the timeline jumped around a little. It’s only taking place within three months to begin with but at points days seemed to jump around. There was a good pace throughout though and it does keep you hooked to see how everything plays out.
The struggles shown throughout are hard at times to read but real in a way to show you what can really happen. But also that there is help out there to help you try and find a way back to the other side. Dark and gritty too but that’s needed to show the true perils of dealing with PTSD, depression and addiction. An interesting read all the same though that is worth checking out.
4 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.