Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aint' Just Malarky (an informal review)

Hello RFS Readers,

I just read this post on Kari's blog--ya know, one of our lovely reviewers. I swiped it. I hope it's okay with her. I thought it was a very touching, and informal yet personal "author interview" and book review with additional book recommendations. I know quite a few people who love the Stephen Ambrose book, Band of Brothers, and have become so attached to this motley crue of brave warriors that they have followed several of the brothers' stories into their own books as well (see bottom of post). I don't know much about WWII, but if I wanted a deeply emotional, yet true-to-life story, these are the men (and this one in particular) that I would read about.

Here you go,

Aint' Just Malarky

Have you heard of The Band of Brothers? If not, it's a book by Stephen Ambrose and HBO series produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. WWII and the 101 Airborne division are the backdrop and the characters. Don Malarky--pictured above with us--lives in our town and is one of the soldiers depicted in the book and series. Hero was introduced and became friends with him from previous employment. I'm not going to pretend we're close friends. But, we do try and visit him regularly. You see, his wife passed away. While his children visit and are wonderful, it can sometimes get lonely living by yourself. Not that he isn't busy. This man keeps busy!

He wrote a book, a personal memoir of his experience in WWII--Easy Company Soldier. We own it and had it signed. Both Hero and I have read it. It's such a neat read considering the Band of Brothers story is so famous and the beginnings of Don Malarky are here in Oregon, specifically the coast where Hero was raised. Don's book has a personal feel that none of the other Band of Brothers books have. He, in my mind, is probably the most sensitive. His brothers' deaths seemed to hit him the hardest--or at least he responds most visibly to them, even to this day.

He's quick to laugh, enjoys a good inside joke, and loves babies and children. His sentimental side shines through when you learn he cans jam yearly in honor of his beloved and deceased wife. He picks the wild blackberries himself and even makes labels professing his devotion to his wife and how the jam is symbolic.

Here's another aspect of his life I find astounding: he writes back everyone who writes him. Everyone. You should see the inside of his house! He has boxes and boxes of letters, pictures, newspapers, memorabilia. He says that when people ask for his autograph, he'll send them the letter back and say, "When you've read my book, send the book with your thoughts and opinions and I'll sign that." I love seeing his quirky smile and the twinkle in his eye when he relates stories like that.

I don't know how much longer we'll have Don with us. The veterans from WWII are passing away quickly. He seems in great health, but you never know. It has been such a privilege to know Don and hear his story first hand. _______________________________________________

If you liked the Band of Brothers (I had a hard time getting through this book, but loved these others), here are a couple more books that were great reads:

Beyond Band of Brothers, by Major Dick Winters (this man is AMAZING)

Call of Duty, by Lynn "Buck" Compton (he had an incredible after-war life)

Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends, by William Guarnere and Edward Heffron (these 2 are hilarious)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Aww what a cute family. Thie kids are so adorable.


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