Around the time I finished reading American Sniper by Chris Kyle, I decided I can’t stand the NY Times Best Seller list. Most of the books that make the list haven’t risen above the level of trash and I have trudged through them with diminishing enthusiasm. So, what does this reaction mean for my view of American Sniper? Well, it’s a ‘meh’. Not good enough to praise, not horrible enough to throw a tantrum. It just sort of exists.
Several problems give themselves life as I try and read American Sniper. The first is the almost immediate, and assuredly visceral reaction, that I am unpatriotic for my personal distaste for this book. The second is that I do not respect American soldiers. This is not true. I have the utmost respect for them, several good friends having been Marines and officers. That said, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with how they are used.
On to my issues concerning the content of the book itself. Is this a bad book? Certainly not. It fairs no worse than Rob Lowe’s autobiography. But, the contents don’t represent a story I find worth reading. Nothing I’m interested on is explained, certainly not tactics. I suppose there’s a great deal of heart and passion behind the story, but I can’t relate to the narrator and that, almost certainly, dooms it from the start.
The macho military mind might make more sense for someone from the south and this review isn’t a condemnation of that view point, just saying that I can’t understand it. This books appeal is very stylized. Certainly, it’s got action, but the suspense just isn’t there. Mostly, it reads like a boring narration of a bad action movie where cheesy one-liners about military bad asses are thrown around. And, for some that’s fine.
The real failing of this book, for me, is the lack of perspective. He’s a SEAL sniper. He could have had an amazing story to tell, a view point I’d never seen before, but he doesn’t. If he does, it doesn’t come across. And, I think that makes for a lost opportunity. There’s plenty of action, you can’t miss action in a war zone.
Like I said, this book is a ‘meh’. I can’t really say there’s a specific criticism unless you’re talking about being generic. No driving view point comes across. To me, that’s a failure. Especially for someone who could have said something. Hell, anything. Instead, this book consists of merely a connect the dots series of events. Forgettable. That’s this book. And that’s a real shame.
Which leads me back to the concerns I have with the NY Times Best Sellers list. Almost every book off that list has the same faults. Mindlessly going through the paces. Is that what makes a book popular? That’s certainly different than a good book.
Therefore, it’s over. I’m not reading another book straight from the NY Times Best Sellers list. My interests too infrequently align with those of the list. I have too many other books to read, get too many great recommendations from friends on a list that isn’t getting any shorter.
I can’t recommend this book for anyone who has agreed with my previous reviews. There’s just nothing of worth within.