Monday, April 7, 2014

REVIEW--One Step at a Time

I'm back!!!  Wow has it been a crazy few weeks, so I'm glad to get back to a normal routine again!  And that includes blogging, too.  :)

So today let's get going with a good-old review.  I recently read One Step at a Time by Josh Bleill, a former Marine and now community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts.  I'm actually hoping to have Bleill come to my school next year to speak with students and staff about the experiences he wrote in this book.  So let's get to it:

  •  Standalone novel
  • Nonfiction
The Gist:
After 9/11, Josh Bleill knew he wanted to serve his country.  So he joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 2004.  He was sent for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, where he lost both legs in an IED explosion.  In this book, he discusses this incident and how he learned to move past his injuries (both physical and mental).  He was later hired by the Indianapolis Colts, his favorite NFL team, where he currently serves as a community spokesperson.

What I Loved:
  • For me, this is a hometown story.  Although I didn't grow up in Greenfield (where Bleill lived), I also grew up in a small Indiana town and could relate to Bleill's growing-up stories. 
  • It's a very inspirational story--Bleill could very easily live in depression and self-pity because of all that he's been through, but he doesn't.  A great story for students to hear!
  • I was afraid that Bleill was going to start with a LOT of background about his upbringing and young life, but he doesn't.  He jumps right into the main story for you, and I really appreciated that!
What I Didn't Love:
  • I know Bleill isn't a professional writer, but he did have a ghostwriter for this book.  And honestly I wasn't very impressed with the ghostwriter.  The writing seemed basic and even elementary at times.  This is a book you read for the information, not for the writing style.
  • At one point Bleill talks about how he waited to tell his family that he had joined the Marines.  And he says "I told myself I hadn't broken the news to them yet because I wanted to tell the entire family at one time.  My other sister, Julie, lived in Fishers, Indiana, and my parents lived 40 minutes from her in Greenfield.  And I lived all the way in Indianapolis, right in between them.  Getting all of us together at the same time from such great distances was hard to do--or at least it is when you don't want to do it."  I know this are very well, and describing 40 minutes as "great distances" was pretty silly to me.  We live in the world of automobiles, not horse and buggy...that's not a great distance at all. 
  • Bleill writes MULTIPLE times about how great the Marines are and how they are such a family.  And I'm sure they are and I TOTALLY respect the Marines.  Just got a little repetitive after awhile.
My favorite quote:  "I didn't mind going back to California, especially not after living through another Indiana winter."  Amen, Bleill.  Amen.

So a good read for the inspirational story of Bleill's time in the Marines, but not a great example of writing style.  I'm really looking forward to having my students read this (and hopefully meet Bleill!).

I'll be back tomorrow with a Marine-inspired outfit!  And then I'll have my own outfit post up soon!

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