Excerpt from Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Thank You for Your Service

by David Finkel

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2013, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2014, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


And then, just like that, as Adam emerges and she sees how lost he appears, even scared, her mood breaks, and she is once again allowing in possibility and all the hurt that comes with it.

On the way home, they pass the little airport where Adam returned from the war.

There were ceremonies when the others came home, raucous celebrations in a Fort Riley gym filled with spangly women, flag-waving children, and signs. "Welcome home, Daddy." "Welcome home, heroes." Straight from the war, the soldiers would march into the gym, in formation, and when they were dismissed a few minutes later, there would be a great rush as the order of the place dissolved into screams and embraces. It happened every time, again and again, as all of the Fort Riley soldiers returned, and at one of the ceremonies, everyone spilled out of the gym and into a perfect Kansas day: blue sky, buttercups in the summer grass, a gentle breeze, and then an unexpected puff of wind. It blew the caps off of men and lifted the flowery skirt of one of the young wives, exposing the thong she had chosen for this day and the new butterfly tattoo she had gotten, and instead of smoothing her skirt back into place, she laughed as she felt it rise like a kite above her shoulders, and the soldier she was with couldn't stop staring and grinning, and everyone around them laughed, knowing what would be coming next, the sex, the desire, the relief that he was home safely, the poetry in the plains, and could there have been a moment further from the one that Adam had when he arrived?

No ceremony, no signs, no spangly dress—just Saskia pressed against a window of the terminal, watching him get off a plane. He descended the steps with the other passengers onto the tarmac, and Saskia thought: He's a skeleton. She had been hoping so hard. Now she knew.

As for Adam, as he walked across the tarmac, he wished he were on crutches and covered in bandages. The great soldier, returning from war. He felt ashamed. He walked into the terminal. He dreaded what Saskia would think of him. Now he saw her. She was smiling her beautiful smile. All of a sudden, he wanted to run to her. Here was his moment of welcome, his chance at absolution, and that was when he noticed the woman standing next to Saskia. He had never seen her before, but she seemed to know him because she was rushing toward him, on the verge of tears.

"Can you tell me what happened to my husband?" she was saying. "Can you tell me what happened?"

That was how he came home. Those were his welcoming words.

Copyright © 2013 by David Finkel

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  PTSD and TBI

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Good Me Bad Me
    Good Me Bad Me
    by Ali Land
    Is a psychopath born or made? This is the terrifying question that author Ali Land explores in her ...
  • Book Jacket: Five-Carat Soul
    Five-Carat Soul
    by James McBride
    In the short story "Sonny's Blues," from the 1965 collection Going to Meet the Man, African-...
  • Book Jacket: This Blessed Earth
    This Blessed Earth
    by Ted Genoways
    For the Hammonds, a farming family in Nebraska, the 2014 harvest season started with a perfect storm...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Never Coming Back
    by Alison McGhee

    A moving exploration of growing up and growing old, and the ties that bind parents and children.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Wisdom of Sundays

The Wisdom of Sundays
by Oprah Winfrey

Life-changing insights from super soul conversations.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Good M I H T F

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.