Tuesday, October 27, 2009

From Baghdad, With Love

I recently picked up this one on sale without knowing what to expect. Puppies and Iraq are not the most strongly connected images in my mind, so I was curious as to what was going to occur in the story.

From Baghdad, With Love is the story of Jay Kopelman and how his heart was stolen by a puppy this marine found in an abandoned building while on patrol in Iraq. It's a story that broke all the rules of the Marines about keeping animals found on the streets. It's a story about finding some way to remain human, to stay sane in the midst of war, which drifts farther and farther from sanity the longer soldiers are exposed to it. It's a story about the strength of love and how far people will go to ensure that love wins.

I'd love to be able to say this book is all heart-warming goodness, but it's a book about war, so the reader is confronted with some difficult images. Iraq is a long way from here, georgraphically and in the way everyday life is lived. Life and death are each constant realities, and the line that separates the two comes far too close for comfort. Lava (the puppy) is under constant threat--if detected, Lava would be shot. Jay Kopelman cannot let that happen, but sneaking a puppy from Iraq to southern California is quite an adventure, and this book is well worth the read to join in that adventure.

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