Saturday, December 29, 2012


Something Like Normal is a fun romance and a believable approach towards soldiers with PTSD. It is about a US veteran, Travis, coming home on leave from Iraq. But he comes home, where his dad is Always Disapproving, his mom is always Worried and also getting bullied by her husband, and everyone wants to know what Iraq and the war is like and Travis is completely uninterested in talking to anyone about it. He has PTSD, which he is trying to hide as much as possible from everyone. He crosses paths with Harper, a girl he knew in high school, and is determined to befriend her, because she seems more “real” than his other old friends, and he wants to try to be as normal as possible, instead of obsessing over his war experiences.

It probably sounds like a Nicholas Sparks book but to me it was much more honest than that. The story is very character-driven. Besides Travis and Harper and their relationship, and Travis and his difficult relationships with his family members, there are also his old high school friends (and enemies), Harper’s dad, and Travis’s surviving friends from his platoon, who visit so that they can all attend the funeral of one of their friends who didn't make it. Travis has a lot of guilt over his friend's death to deal with, too. He keeps trying to hide all of his inner turmoil over this and his shellshock from the war in general, and the way he slowly opens up, especially to Harper, was sympathetically done.

I really liked the romance in this book. It was only a part of the story and only a part of the characters, which is my favorite way to have romance in a book (a part of their life, not the be-all, end-all). Harper is very much her own person, and has horrible memories of Travis that he has to prove wrong before she can give him a chance at all. The progression of their relationship is just really cute though and I love both of them.

So as you can probably guess, there is a lot of relationship drama between all of these characters. But it was very well-written and engaging, and it's very easy to empathize with Boy. Despite the tough subject matter, this is a light, fast read.

I gave Something Like Normal four out of five stars.

1 comment:

Jasmine Stairs said...

I remember you really enjoying this one, when you were reading it. Maybe I'll get over my fear of contempt books and give it a go.