Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Club: American Sniper

I usually know better than to see the movie before reading the book.
But Stew really wanted to see American Sniper, and it was kind of the perfect situation -- My mom had taken Ryder for the night, and our friends were available for an evening out, so we really couldn't pass up the opportunity for some grown up fun.
Stew had already read the book and told me a little bit about what he thought of it. And of course I had some background on Chris Kyle (a U.S. Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in American military history with 160 confirmed kills), because of the media attention surrounding his murder on U.S. soil by a fellow military veteran.
His bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, was published in 2012. Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed on February 2, 2013. The film adaptation of American Sniper (directed by Clint Eastwood) was released at the end of 2014.
The theme for my March book club was "memoir," and I decided that an autobiography was close enough. (What is the difference, really?)

American Sniper describes Kyle's life, his four tours in Iraq, and raising a family after the war. I thought it was an incredibly interesting look at a modern day warrior, as he described the mentality of killing an enemy and his combat experiences. I also enjoyed the parts about the struggles he faced at home, and interjections by his wife, Taya.

Chris believed that life should be ordered as follows: God, country, family. Taya, however, believed that family should come before country. This was a continuing conflict between the two of them.
Although he's not the best author (the story seemed a little random and scattered at times), Kyle's voice is truly authentic, providing an intriguing and heart wrenching story told by a true American hero. It's pretty hard to say anything negative about it.

Since I saw the movie before reading the book, I was comparing the two with every word I read (and picturing Bradley Cooper, who by the way did an amazing job portraying Chris Kyle). The movie version was really only able to elaborate on small brief bits of Kyle's life, but the book provides a much more detailed account. Kyle goes into great depth about his life and experiences, and you're left with a feeling of awe toward his dedication and love for his family and country.

I really enjoyed it.
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  1. I really want to see the movie. Not so much the book. I'm not a big "memoir" type of reader.

  2. I, too, saw this movie first, but I do still want to read the book. As I assumed ( and you confirmed), there would be a more in depth look at things from Chris' perspective. And Bradley Cooper did do an amazing job in this role!


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