I read the perfect novel at the perfect time. After listening to a news segment about the film The Interview and Americans’ feelings about war and terrorism, I picked up my next book to read: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Billy Lynn and his fellow soldiers in the Bravo squad are caught up in a fierce firefight that is caught on film by a news crew. The men fight heroically and without a thought to their own safety. Of course both the U.S. and Army administrations see this as a good public relations situation so they bring the boys home to tour the country and they exploit them mercilessly. These are very young (Billy Lynn is only 19) guys who have been living in hot, filthy conditions, and now that they have some down time, they just want to have fun. Instead they are paraded from function to function, rolled out to meet various important locals and constantly touched, quizzed, asked for autographs, and asked for pictures with the members of the public. They hear certain words so much they just run together: “terroRist”, “nina leven”, “dih-mock-cruh-see”, etc. Everyone has to tell them how proud they are of them; no one can just leave them be. Most of the novel takes place at a Dallas Cowboys football game. Instead of having a good time, they are constantly accosted by fans walking by wanting to meet them and put in their two cents about the war. Then, they are expected to do a military drill on the field during half time while fireworks are going off (how thoughtless!) which totally freaks them out. After the game they are supposed to redeploy to Iraq, which the Army is trying to keep quiet. Billy Lynn dislikes the Army but thinks he would otherwise be stuck in a minimum wage job so he figures he might as well take his chances. Outstanding book, very powerful, and I am going to buy it to add to my collection of books on war.