Curse of the Coloring book – A Novel Inspired by a True Story By Howard L. Hibbard – A Book Review


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Degree of Normal – A Woman’s Journey Out of Childhood Abuse – A Book Review


Degree of Normal – A Woman’s Journey Out of Childhood Abuse

By: Barbara Harken

Reviewed by Richard R. Blake

Trauma Survival –  Finding Redemption, Recovery, and Wholeness

Barbara Harken has chosen the platform of a psychological novel to relate her story of surviving childhood trauma, a story of abuse, rejection, and healing. Jocelyn Quint (the fictional Barbara) suddenly finds her defense mechanisms crumbling. Mounting trials follow the unexpected death of her mother.

A chance meeting with a fellow student, Alex Strumme, and the discovery of an unknown aunt, Paula, at her mother’s funeral, gave Jocelyn a ray of hope, the first step in breaking down the walls of recovery, and the possibility of finding emotional healing through redemptive love and courage. Small steps forward, then, another relapse into the fear of trusting anyone, and taking back the identity image of shame, pain and unworthiness; a cycle, repeated, over and over again; a stark look into the dark side of the multifaceted power of PTSD over its victim.

Barbara’s writing is punctuated with well-chosen descriptive phrases, gripping realism, and heartbreaking reality. Her story depicts the true picture of what dissociative identity disorder and PTSD is like from the point of view of the survivor. The book is designed to help these victims discover their own voice, their own strength, and their own pathway to healing and recovery.

Harkens has an ability to reach deeply into the soul of the reader and draw out an unknown sense of empathy for the hurting with understanding, the ability to listen without judging, and to listen with understanding, leading to self-discovery, and a personal sense of wholeness.

Barbara Harkens teaches writing at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. This is her third novel

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Robert Reed Publishers, P. O. Box 1992, Bandon, Oregon 97411, 978-1944297107, $ 16.95, 264 Pages