Fives and Twenty-Fives is Michael Pitre's debut novel and an exhausting read about the perils of the Iraq War. 

Fives and Twenty-Fives
Bloomsbury USA

I didn't like this novel because of the way it was written. I dislike reading books which flash back in time so frequently that it becomes difficult to follow, especially in regard to time and voice. I lost count of the number of times I reread passages because I was confused as to who was talking and if the scene was in the past or present.

I also felt the novel failed to address many of the questions I had about the actions and motives of the characters such as Pete, Pete's mother, Lizzie, and Zahn. Hence, I was left to fill in these areas with my own imagination, and I feel that was too much for the author to expect of his readers.

However, I did appreciate the scene with Pete's father at the end of the novel. It was crafted in such a visceral way that I cried reading this passage. Here, Pete finally confides in his father about how Gunny Stout, a comrade on the road repair platoon with him, died. "He stayed on the ground for six hours, Dad.

Michael Pitre
Michael Pitre

"He laid there, and no one could get to him. They had to call in another team and use line charges to clear a lane twenty meters wide. Bombs everywhere. He rolled over. . . He was probably conscious. Knowing it was bad, but thinking I was on my way. . .He dies thinking he'd wake up in Germany. But he didn't. Just bled to death, right there on the hot . . .asphalt, too."

Pete and his father sit under the oak tree and "the whole time he had his hand on my shoulder. He doesn't ask me any questions. He doesn't say a word." What a beautiful way for a father to let his son know he understands and loves him despite what devastation he may have seen.

If the flashback style of writing doesn't phase you, then I am sure you will enjoy Michael Pitre's debut novel, Fives and Twenty-Fives.

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