Wednesday, June 30, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: "The Last Blue Mile"

The Last Blue Mile
By Kim Ponders
Copyright 2007
HarperCollins Publishers
Adult Fiction

I picked up this book because it was about the Air Force Academy, something I'm vaguely familiar with as it is located directly north of my house. I usually really enjoy books that include anything Colorado Springs, for obvious reasons. I was kind of surprised, however, by the topic and tone of this book.

The Last Blue Mile covers a period of time in the "incarceration" of cadet Brook Searcy at the Air Force Academy. The ritual, the hazing, the unpleasant nature of the story, was just a little bit discomforting. Although other scandals that had actually occurred at the Academy are mentioned, the main story begins with a cheating scandal and how the Academy is forced to deal (less-than-fairly) with the female instigator of the cheating, simply because she is female and because the Academy is still recovering from a rape scandal still fresh in everyone's memory. Brook is a bystander to this, but has her own demons that she has to face.

The story also focuses on General John Waller, the Commandant of Cadets at the Academy.....the one who has to put a good face on everything for us out in the "real world". The Commandant is forced to see things at this mostly-male military institution from a female perspective and I, even as a female myself, felt like he was placed in a terrible position between a rock and hard place regarding the decisions he is forced to make.

The story switches back and forth between these two main storylines, with a few others thrown in for good measure. But then something happens to Brook that made me want to stop reading the story entirely. Suddenly it was as if none of the rest of the story mattered except this new "event" that occurs, throwing the reader back to the rape scandal of previous years.

I didn't like the "ick" factor in the book and I didn't like that the book was really about something that I didn't think it would be about. Just discomforting. Probably would not recommend.

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