Something Like Normal features Travis, who enlisted in the Marines after high school and did one tour in Afghanistan before coming home for four weeks of leave. He’s not really that happy to be home: his girlfriend dumped him and hooked up with his brother while he was overseas and his parents are having problems (and he and his dad don’t get along, anyway). But most of all, he’s having trouble dealing with what happened in Afghanistan: the death of his best friend.
This book is beautiful and heartbreaking. I think I cried three times while reading it. I obviously can’t tesitfy to the authenticity of Travis’ experiences as a Marine, but the PTSD episodes he suffered seemed very real to me, and I think Doller did a pretty good job of conveying the culture shock of coming home after working in a war zone.
The book isn’t really graphic although it doesn’t shy away from mentioning blood and gore and the hard realities of war. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the hidden costs of warfare and looking for a good read that isn’t solely romance-focused. (Although there is a pretty good love story in there, so look, something for everybody!)