by T. B. Stamper
The Frog Hunter: A Story about the Vietnam War, an Inkblot Test and a Girl, is a memoir that reads stranger than fiction.
The author takes his readers on a fascinating, often humorous, and emotionally moving journey from deadly Ranger missions in Vietnam, to betrayal by his superior officers at Fort Ord, to the inside of an Army psychiatric ward.
With a chaotic mind, trying to make sense of the war, Stamper is in a desperate search for truth.
He turns to the hippie culture, attracted by their message of love and enlightenment. Unexpectedly, he meets a beautiful girl; the love of his life. The happiness that life now offers him is threatened by the war that consumes his mind and heart. He wants the girl and he wants a future. But how can he find his way back to normal?
Written in powerful prose, the story reveals how war wounds the soul, but then hope emerges, kindled within the tangled aftermath of trauma and loss.
This is a memoir written in the style of a fiction novel told in the first person point of view (the author’s) and this is very effective. The author tells his story in a very cohesive and easy style and does not shy away from talking about his emotions but doesn’t descend into sappiness. His descriptions are brilliant as I was able to clearly visualise what was happening and where.
It’s a book that will be memorable to me. I’ve always had empathy for the Vietnam veterans because of the lack of recognition and support that they received compared with veterans of other wars. To have survived the war in Vietnam and then to feel alienated and unable to talk about it because it was the war no one wanted to hear about, and wouldn’t understand anyway, must have been hell in itself. I’m glad the author was able to find the right people to help him on his journey to healing.
I highly recommend this book, even if it’s a subject you have no interest in. I think you will become quite invested in the story.