[…] Service. Sacrifice.
The problem with that being,
everyone attached to those
soldiers must sacrifice, too.
So, as some Afghani warlord
put that in your
pipe and smoke it. Okay, that
was actually my grandpa’s saying.
But it works, and what I mean
is, think long and hard before
offering your heart to someone
who can only accept it part time.
It’s fitting that Ellen Hopkins’ newest novel-in-verse for adults, Collateral, shared its release day, November 6, with the United States election day.
It’s both timely in its exploration of the effects at home of the country’s long-time military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and in that Collateral also touches on a number of other current issues in this country, creating a heavy-handed, though still beautifully written, snapshot of American life that’s intertwined with the modern military.
Written in free verse, Collateral is mostly told from San Diego student Ashely’s point-of-view. She meets and falls in love with a Marine, Cole, a guy from rural Wyoming whom she is shocked to discover isn’t what she thought of as the stereotype of a military man.
You can tell a lot by the way
a guy kisses. Cole kissed like
summer rain—barely wet,
the temperature of August
sky, thunder-punctuated. Delicious.
Cole writes poetry, he’s smart, he’s funny. Their relationship is intense, and Collateral spans five years and four of Cole’s deployments.
The title of the book—Collateral—demonstrates the main theme of the book: collateral damage.