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Book Review

‘Fives And Twenty-Fives’

9/3/2014

bookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Fay Jones

Bloomsbury Publishing

Pub Date: 08/26/14

$ 27.00

HIV

400 pp

With his powerful debut novel, Pitre delivers an honest, definitive portrayal of the Iraq war experience. Pitre, a two-tour Iraq war veteran, joined the Marine Corps in 2002 and wrote this story to honor the people he knew. He gives us an unflinching account of the lives of three men from a Marine road repair platoon whose unglamorous yet dangerous and necessary job it is to fill potholes along the roads of western Iraq, keeping them safe for military and civilian travel. Without fail, each one they encounter contains an IED that they must disarm before repairing the hole, all the while expecting to be fired at from elsewhere as well. “Fives and Twenty-Fives” refers to the procedure they faithfully use each time to clear the area before beginning work.

Pitre tells his poignant story using the alternating first-person voices of the three men and switches from the postwar present to their past in the midst of the Iraqi war zone.

The three have contact with one another after the war, and one hopes that they’re working through their problems, perhaps even eventually together. With a straightforward, spare narrative style, Pitre offers a compelling, moving portrait of a deeply horrific war and its consequences. His characters are believable, each with his own authentic voice. Though imperfect, Pitre develops them with integrity, and one can’t help but embrace them with empathy. CV

Fay Jones was born with a love of literature, which was finely shored up throughout her early years by her parents and a beloved children’s librarian who wore the thickest glasses ever manufactured. Ms. Jones once won a coupon for a free ice cream cone after her suggestion for a name for the local Reading Is Fundamental mascot was selected. 

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