Myers, W.D. (1988). Fallen Angels. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Fallen Angels Book Trailer
I did not want to read this book, and I didn’t want my son to read this book when he asked for it this past year. I do not enjoy or find entertaining “true war” stories or movies, regardless of whether they portray war realistically or not. For my son, I did minimal inquiry with his English teacher, and we both decided that him reading something was better than reading nothing, and with his future plans to be a Marine, we thought it would be good for him to read about a disillusioned soldier who thought he knew the meaning of war until he found himself in one. Imagery is strong in the writing – haunting, really – so there is a detailed mental picture of the combat, destruction, and deaths that occur. Symbolism is also important in the writing, for example in the loss of the dog-tags of some fallen soldiers – it means so much more than the loss of the physical tags. I assumed (correctly) the reasons this book was challenged were many – war, violence, language, situations – it has it all; however, I think that what’s in the book is realistic in the setting. Do I like that the “F” bomb is dropped with frequency? No. (would it be funny to say “hell no" here?) But contextually, I imagine that’s exactly how it was in Vietnam and it increases the reality of the experience. I doubt soldiers said “good gracious” when they were under ground and air attack.