“I remember the darkness of Kabul made the stars shine brighter than I had ever seen, or have seen since. All I need to do is think about it for a moment, and I can feel the cool mountain air against my skin, bringing with it the feeling that even within the worst, there is always something worth finding.”
Bryan Wood, Unspoken Abandonment
Unspoken Abandonment by Bryan Wood was published in February of this year. I came in contact with Bryan through the network of writers using social media. I was intrigued by his memoir about serving in Afghanistan and its after effects, and downloaded a sample for my Kindle. I was hooked instantly, bought the entire book, and read it in three nights.
Unspoken Abandonment is Wood’s story of his time serving in combat operations in Eastern Afghanistan, and his difficulty readjusting to his life at home after the war. I have many friends in the service and have spoken to them about their time in combat, but I’ve never truly understood the psychological implications of war until reading this book.
With clear and straightforward writing taken in part from Wood’s journals he kept while he served, he takes the reader into the dark night of active duty. From the moment his plane lands in Afghanistan, the heavy desperation and paralyzing fear of the war reaches off the page. Wood recounts that planes must land in total darkness with the lights out for the safety of the soldiers, and as the plane descended, I felt like I was right at his side.
Wood describes in raw detail the horrors that he witnesses. He describes the two states of the soldier’s existence: mind numbing boredom and absolute terror. He tells of the atrocities he sees in the city in which his intervention is not allowed. He details the terrible poverty, mistreatment of women and children, and frightening combat experiences. So often, I wanted to look away from the page, but I forced myself to keep reading. These things need to be known.
When the combat journals end, the memoir is bleak and desolate. Wood begins to describe his return to the U.S. and the physical and emotional injuries he faces. His feelings of anger, guilt, and remorse threaten to engulf him, but like the night sky that brought Wood peace while in combat in Afghanistan, there is a glimmer of hope.
The rest of the memoir chronicles his difficult fight for peace, resolution, and redemption. Wood’s honest and genuine expression of his emotions touches the reader, and the conclusion of the memoir left me with great respect and admiration for Bryan and for the millions of war veterans like him who have sacrificed so much.
Believe me when I tell you that reading about the hell and horrors of war are worth the journey in Unspoken Abandonment. Facing truth is important, especially when it is painful, and this memoir gives a voice to the thousands of men and women struggling upon reentry after serving in the war. I am convinced that Wood will reach many people through this memoir by not only helping to remove the stigma of PTSD, but by giving hope that there can be healing.
I give Unspoken Abandonment my highest recommendation.
You can connect with Bryan on his Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BryanA.Wood