Summary and book reviews of Eat the Apple by Matt Young

Eat the Apple

by Matt Young

Eat the Apple by Matt Young X
Eat the Apple by Matt Young
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  • Published:
    Feb 27, 2018, 272 pages

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Book Summary

"The Iliad of the Iraq war" (Tim Weiner) - a gut-wrenching, beautiful memoir of the consequences of war on the psyche of a young man.

Eat the Apple is a daring, twisted, and darkly hilarious story of American youth and masculinity in an age of continuous war. Matt Young joined the Marine Corps at age eighteen after a drunken night culminating in wrapping his car around a fire hydrant. The teenage wasteland he fled followed him to the training bases charged with making him a Marine. Matt survived the training and then not one, not two, but three deployments to Iraq, where the testosterone, danger, and stakes for him and his fellow grunts were dialed up a dozen decibels.

With its kaleidoscopic array of literary forms, from interior dialogues to infographics to prose passages that read like poetry, Young's narrative powerfully mirrors the multifaceted nature of his experience. Visceral, ironic, self-lacerating, and ultimately redemptive, Young's story drops us unarmed into Marine Corps culture and lays bare the absurdism of 21st-century war, the manned-up vulnerability of those on the front lines, and the true, if often misguided, motivations that drove a young man to a life at war.

Searing in its honesty, tender in its vulnerability, and brilliantly written, Eat the Apple is a modern war classic in the making and a powerful coming-of-age story that maps the insane geography of our times.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Bookpage

Former Marine and current college writing instructor Matt Young relives his grueling Marine training and his three deployments to Iraq in this searing memoir.

Kirkus Reviews

[Young] performs a certain amount of literary alchemy, using style and the space between memory and fiction to transform his raw experiences into self-lacerating works of art... A real war story told in fragments by a gifted young writer trying to come to grips with his experiences

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Young matches his stylistic daring with raw honesty, humor, and pathos ... [he] writes from a grunt's perspective that has changed little since Roman legionnaires yawned through night watch on Hadrian's Wall: endless tedium interrupted by moments of terror and hilarity, all under a strict regime of blind obedience and foolish machismo.

Booklist

Starred Review. [Young's] memoir is creatively told in atmospheric and gut-checking essays... [his] visceral prose, honed in college and writing programs after his tours of duty, confronts shame, guilt, and pain without flinching yet is beyond sympathetic to its subject; it is another act of service.

Library Journal

Starred Review. This honest war memoir will shock and horrify, will cause readers to tear up, and will make them wish they could tell a 19-year-old marine that everything will be okay. Highly recommended.

Author Blurb Tim Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award
Matt Young has written the Iliad of the Iraq war - searing as the desert sun, powerful as a rocket-propelled grenade. He live through three hard tours as a Marine and returned to tell this breathtaking tale. Read it if you love your country. Read it if you hate war. His book will strengthen your heart and soul.

Author Blurb Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue


Eat the Apple is uncompromising. Page after page slices close to the bone with both stylistic and structural swagger. I've never met Matt Young, but he writes about a certain type of young man, a type that comprised many of my closest friends. In his book they come alive again. I've yet to read a truer portrait of them, of us.

Author Blurb Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood


There's a lot of words to describe Eat the Apple. Smart. Filthy. Bold. Electric. What will linger with readers more than anything else, though, is its honesty. This is modern war bare and raw, uncompromised by faulty heroic tales or foggy romantic deeds.

Author Blurb Eric Fair, author of Consequence: A Memoir
In profanely genuine and courageous prose, Matt Young approaches war with the self-lacerating honesty so few of us are willing to risk. Eat The Apple is the only way a true war story can be told.

Author Blurb David Abrams, author of Fobbit and Brave Deeds
Matt Young's Eat the Apple is a standout in a crowded room full of war memoirs. It's fresh, invigorating, and brutally honest in a scorched-earth kind of way.

Author Blurb Scott Anderson, bestselling author ofLawrence of Arabia
A book unlike any I've ever read. By turns hilarious and wrenching - and shot through with moments of piercing wisdom ... If you want to understand how all that works, and be thoroughly entertained at the same time, read this book.

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