Brothers of a Band, a debut novel, is a timely satire about American culture and the Afghanistan War. Witty, irreverent, humorous, and at times poignant, the story follows the life journey and musical career of Theodore “Tooter” Rawlings. The story begins when Theo is in the fourth grade and joins the band at his elementary school in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. He eventually becomes a classically trained woodwind player and lands a job with a local community orchestra. When the downturn in the economy causes the orchestra to go bankrupt, Tooter joins the Army Band to ride out the recession. To his surprise, he ends up deployed to Afghanistan patrolling with a rifle, instead of playing his instrument at Army ceremonies and social occasions.
“I’m a classical oboist! What do I know about killing insurgents? I didn’t sign up for this,” Tooter wailed.... “I signed up to play the “Washington Post March” at welcome home ceremonies.”
With thinly veiled references to actual state and national current affairs, Tooter encounters plenty of nonsense, absurdity and short-comings of the human condition as he ventures through life; and he represents young people who have had their dreams for the future detoured by circumstances beyond their control. Luckily, two things transcend it all - music and the human spirit.
Civilian readers also are given an insightful and informative look at the “almost forgotten” war in Afghanistan, and perhaps gain a better understanding of, and appreciation for, those members of the U S military and their families who shoulder, on behalf of all Americans, the entire burden of war.
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