Sunrise Over Fallujah, Review

2 Nov

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

Plot: This is an excellent title to represent contemporary historical fiction. Robin “Birdy” Perry enlists in the Army after 9-11, and is thrust into a situation that is confusing, scary, and not exactly as he thought it would be. The writing shifts back and forth from Birdy’s first-person accounts and his correspondence home (to his parents and his uncle – I was unaware of the connection of the uncle to Myers’s novel Fallen Angels until after I finished the novel, and now I want to read that as well). The correspondence home is optimistic and Birdy omits much of what is really happening in Iraq (due to Army regulations, but also by his own choice to not worry his family). The story seems disjointed at times, which I believe is intentional from Myers as a reflection of how little information Birdy received about the war (yet he is directly involved in the war). Birdy is so young and inexperienced throughout the entire book; however, he changes quite a bit as he is introduced to the reality of war. After the bus explosion that kills Pendleton, Birdy says “I didn’t want to be alert anymore. I didn’t want to be a good soldier. I just wanted to shut down this whole damn war” (Myers, 2008). The reader watches Birdy transition from a young man too nervous that he forgets to remove the safety from his gun before firing to a solider who quickly opens fire on supposedly friendly Iraqis who intend to harm his Captain. Quite honestly, it’s not an easy transition to watch, yet it’s completely understandable that it has to happen. Readers cannot finish reading this book without thinking about our veterans, and what they experienced during their tours.

This story seemed very real to me, perhaps because it takes place in recent history. Perhaps it is because we still see the same unrest in the Middle East. Our text discusses the importance of historical fiction being accurate in all the small details, and I feel that Myers does a good job with this. Throughout the novel, there were references to popular songs and recording artists, as well as the technology which was current in 2003. All of this helps to create a very authentic experience for the reader.

Would you recommend this book? Yes.

4 stars

–Lisa

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