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plantedbypiggies

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  • The Healer’s War

  • By: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 13 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

McCulley, a young and inexperienced nurse tossed into a stressful and chaotic situation, is having a difficult time reconciling her duty to help and heal with the indifference and overt racism of some of her colleagues and with the horrendously damaged soldiers and Vietnamese civilians whom she encounters during her service at the China Beach medical facilities. She is unexpectedly helped by the mysterious and inexplicable properties of an amulet....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An importnat book that resonates today

  • By plantedbypiggies on 08-06-18

An importnat book that resonates today

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I thought the book did a good job of humanizing war. While working in the hospital, Kitty divides her time before treating American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians. Scarborough worked hard to make the Vietnamese characters seem real, well-rounded people.

Later, during the jungle portion of the story, Scarborough shows how the ordinary people are trapped. In order to just survive, they have to keep both sides of the conflict happy. It's not an easy job, and it takes a huge toll.

I liked the magic The magical talisman doesn't help Kitty "win;" she doesn't gain some kind of power that allows her to overcome her challenges. Rather, it helps her see what lies underneath the surface of those around her.

The first-person narrative of the book is vital -- if it were told in third person, the story would not have been quite as effective. Also, as a woman, Kitty didn't have to go to Vietnam. She could have found plenty of work in an American hospital. But she took a commission voluntarily because she wanted to help. I think the book would have had a much less vibrant perspective if it were through the lens of a drafted serviceman or even a male nurse.

I think this is an important book, particularly because it shows the personal effect of battle on people. It thinks about who is involved -- the "good guys," the "bad guys," and the people just caught in the middle. It also ends well, showing Kitty struggling with PTSD and finding a way out.

It's especially important because the genre tends to glorify war to a certain extent. I wish there were more stories like this. I'd recommend this for people who are looking for a different kind of look at the violence people inflict.

Additionally, the narration of this book was pitch-perfect. I'd love to here more fantasy titles from Robin Miles.