Reader reviews and comments on Waiting for Eden, plus links to write your own review.

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Waiting for Eden

by Elliot Ackerman

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman X
Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 192 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2019, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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There are currently 4 reader reviews for Waiting for Eden
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Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

genius of consciousness
Given the time to think about this book for the last two days, I have changed my rating from 4 stars to 5 stars. Not many books get this rating from me, but in afterthought I truly believe that this book should be one of them.

Such a sad book. Sad, from the narrator of the story, to the circumstance of the story, all the way to the end of the story. Sad can only describe the situation of the story being told, but it is so instructional and thought provoking in it's element. Pain, relationship, loyalty, communication, fear, loss; this novel touches on each, and not only gives you their insight, but awakens you to at least start to think about what each of these emotions mean to you.

I began to truly love each of these characters and to empathize with their individual positions. Who seeks death and why? Is there a 'between space'? Who stops in the 'between space'? Ackerman has written with the genius of consciousness, what no man can truly convey.
Diane S.

Waiting for Eden
Many moons ago, when I was a junior in high school I read a book for my contemporary history class, called, Johnny got his gun. Several years back I read a novel called, Never let you go, and I had such a strong, visceral reaction to those two books that they haunt me to this day. This book will join that list. In this slim, relatively short book, Ackerman has penned a powerful narrative on the horrible cost of war. Centering this story, that I'm sure is a reality for some, on only a few people, and limiting the setting to only what is necessary, he has created an insular novel, from which it is hard to look away. The narrative voice, a friend of Edens, takes us back and forth, but only as far as what the reader needs to kno. How Eden got here, and how his wife and daughter, Tangled their lives together. We also hear the inner thoughts of Eden as he lays in his bed.

Waiting, the many who wait, for news of their loved ones, for lives to restart, for healing, moments of grace, and of course waiting for death. The terribly, high costs of wars that seem to gain do little, but cost so much. The author also employed what I consider another masterful stroke, a repeating description of something that brings out the human side of Eden, making him personal and memorable to the reader. In the novel, She rides Shotgun, the author used a teddy bear that talked and emoted, I won't forget that detail and hence for me it made the book unforgettable. Here,the detail is not as innocuous or harmless as a teddy. I won't tell you what it is but it is equally if not more so memorable.

This is not a happy, little book, but a necessary one. A wake up call, a shock if you will to those of us lucky enough not to be waiting, not to be personally involved in the horrible effects or after effects of war. Those of us who can sit on our couches and just watch various scenes play out on the television. I won't forget this incredibly powerful and moving story.
Suzy Approved

Tugged At My Heart
Eden Malcolm is an Iraqi war veteran who was severely burned by an explosion during a tour. He has been hospitalized for several years and is unable to move or communicate. He is visited daily by his wife, Mary, and has never seen his young daughter who was born while he was deployed. Eden was joined in Iraq by his best friend but he died in the same explosion. This friend serves as the narrator for the story which swaps back and forth between pre- and post-tragedy. Mary’s reluctance to end his suffering is a key focal point of the story.

Waiting For Eden by Elliot Ackerman tugged at my heart. I was surprised by the small size of the book but it is so wonderfully written and full of emotional content that it’s destined to make a bunch of “favorites” lists.
Susan Thomas

Well-written, but very fictionalized medical care
It would have been a 4, except for the following reasons discussed. Read this for my book group and while I really wanted to like it for its writing style, I could not look past the lack of medical and nursing knowledge to get there.

I tried to decide if the book was merely allegory and not factual, but couldn’t get there, either.

A burn victim would have his burns debrided almost every day, as well as having the burned tissue covered with special hydrocollate dressings to keep skin surface protected. None of this was done for Eden. Also, there is no signing by a next of kin to give normal care, only to make a patient a “no code,” meaning he would not receive CPR or advanced life support. It is unclear whether Eden was intubated and on a ventilator, but the text refers several times to a “breathing machine” kicking on. Not sure what that means here. Also, where he bites his tongue, he clearly does not have an endotracheal tube in place. I am really unclear what is meant by allowing for hastening his death. That is not done in hospitals. Yes, morphine for pain, which may depress respirations in a dying patient, but not something given particularly to “take him out.”

Therefore, what could have been a very good book, ends up lacking for me.
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