Curse of the Coloring book – A Novel Inspired by a True Story
By Howard L. Hibbard
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake
Combat Veterans and the Frightening Long-Term Impact of PTSD
Howard L. Hibbard, a Viet Nam combat veteran has chosen to relive his experiences through the eyes of his fictional protagonist, Herald Lloyd, in “Curse of the Coloring Book – A Novel Inspired by a True Story.”
Hibbard masterfully incorporates the elements of good storytelling as he draws the reader into Herald’s life. Tired of living in the shadow of his father’s academic accomplishments as a student at MIT and his reputation as a highly successful status as a doctor; fun loving Herald struggling with his studies, quit school and enlisted as a combat infantry lieutenant headed for Viet Nam. On a whim Herald purchased a GI Joe Coloring Book and a half-gallon of whiskey to celebrate with his fraternity brothers.
Through flashbacks and vignettes, Hibbard relates his experiences of serving a year as a platoon leader in an infantry unit on the Cambodian border. He tells of life after the war, trying to adjust to a normal civilian life, his marriage, building a law practice and the ongoing battle with PTSD while defending himself in a malpractice suit, which was the result a clerical error.
Hibbard writes with authenticity, sensitivity, and with eye-opening reality as he describes the intense terror of serving on the front lines, He writes with a balance heartwarming insight and humor as he speaks reverently of the comradeship and loyalty brought on by the uncertainty of life, death, and the heartache that accompanies survival.
The action-packed account of combat and courtroom tension combine to make ‘Curse of the Coloring Book’ a must-read for the aficionados of both/courtroom drama and frontline warfare.
“Curse of the Coloring Book” is an important book for combat veterans and will resonate with the veterans and their families. Hibbard’s account should be must reading for anyone suffering from PTSD. I have read several books of veterans coming home with battle fatigue and PTSD Hibbard’s account is among the best; one that will linger in the mind of the reader long after closing the final page of the book.
Ghost Dog Enterprises, Inc., 1450 Southgate Avenue, Daly City, California, 978-0985634469, $16.95, 2016, 384 Pages