Fobbit eBook Ê Ebook


  • ebook
  • 294 pages
  • Fobbit
  • David Abrams
  • English
  • 05 January 2016

10 thoughts on “Fobbit

  1. Carmen Carmen says:

    Sir is your captain a complete and utter idiot prone to eating Stupid Sandwiches at every meal?Duret couldn't meet the battle captain's eyes Something like that I guessI had been saving this book for a rainy day that is to say after being in something of a slump I saw it as a treat something I knew I would enjoy I was rightThis is a book about American soldiers stationed at an FOB in Baghdad Everyone is calling it the modern Catch 22 but I don't think that's very fair I suppose people always have the urge to compare something to a classic but I wish they wouldn't This book is not really like Catch 22 but since it is about war and has a sense of humor it gets placed side by side with Heller's time honored tome This book is not as funny as Catch 22 and it has a completely different toneEach chapter deals with life from the perspective of different people on base1 Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr a fobbit who never leaves the comforting air conditioning of the relatively cushy FOB Fobbits are soldiers who avoid leaving base and are terrified of gunfire bombs and dying in Ira Soldiers who never get their hands dirty The term fobbit was brand new to me but I am very familiar with the term REMF and fobbits are just about the same thingGooding is a public affairs officer and it's his job to write press releases about what's going on in Baghdad and put a positive spin on things even when there's nothing positive to be spun Abrams puts a lot of humor and sarcasm in a bureaucratic job which basically entails spewing bullshit to the press and the ostrich Americans back home who have their heads in the sand and only want to hear uplifting things about Ira No one wanted to read A soldier was vaporized when his patrol hit an IED his flesh thrown into a nearby tree where it draped like Spanish mossGooding is always reading some classic book A Tale of Two Cities Don uixote etc Once he is even shown reading Catch 22 in what was actually a very funny and meta moment I feel like this character is probably the closest to the actual author He's smart and even though he is a self preservationist who avoids any kind of conflict or combat he seems like a basically likable person He keeps a secret diary about Ira on a thumb drive and it's through this diary that we get to experience a different style of writing than Abrams normally uses2 Lieutenant Colonel Vic Duret This was by far my favorite character a hardass brave decision maker who goes out and faces IEDs terrorists and gunfire every day Even though he puts on a very gruff and tough exterior he spends the book constantly fantasizing about seeing his wife and dog again Especially his wife's breasts which he is rather obsessed about I found this endearing I am a soft touch for a man who loves his wife and dog There were just two things that he wanted at this particular moment his golden retriever Ginger snuffling and slobbering against the palm of his hand; and his wife's tit in his mouth While Ginger licked his hand he'd suck on his wife like he was a baby and if he was lucky she wouldn't catch him crying over all the bad shit he'd brought home from BaghdadHe also is still reeling from the fact that his brother in law was killed in the September 11 attacks He often suffers from visions of his brother in law Ross stumbling around his office engulfed in flames and leaping from the window to a certain death Ross dead Ross dead Ross dead Running through the remains of his office crackling and sizzling flesh dripping off the tips of his fingers legs carrying him forward by reflex alone because there was nothing left inside of Ross not already cooked by fuel and flameThe pounding in Duret's brain vibrated against his sinus cavity Behind the curtain of his fingers he broke into a sweat as inside his head his brother in law bumped against desks and plunged through the blizzard of once important papers finding his way by instinct not sight or touch to the blown out window Once there he launched into the cool blue space soaring aflame into the buffeting wind Ross was already gone no longer the brother in law Vic had fished with laughed with clinked beer bottles with mutually grouched about the wifesister with so it wasn't really Ross that morning who arced like an ember out of the towerHe also loves words and word play; for instance he calls Gooding Gooding Two Shoes He is merciful upfront and stalwart probably the closest thing this book comes to a hero figure3 Captain Abe Shrinkle This guy is a complete fuck up and is the source for all the other characters angst in the book as they scramble to try and cover up Shrinkle's incompetence and many mistakes He is indecisive when he needs to act and makes stupid split second decisions when he should be patient and think things through resulting in than one death and a lot of damage to military euipment He's not exactly a comic character seeing as his ineptitude results in people dying once or twice but he is a buffoon character who is swollen with his own self importance and blind to the fact that he's a liability to everyone around himHe's even terrified of the men and women under his command because he knows they hate and despise himHe also does less dangerous but still repulsive things like milk the care package system so he gets three or four boxes full of goodies everyday which he hoards and doesn't share with anyoneShrinkle isn't stuck in one place Abrams gives him an interesting story arc and I liked seeing what kind of trouble he was going to get in next while at the same time feeling disgust for him and all his thoughts and actions4 Lieutenant Colonel Eustace Harkleroad is another comic character a fat weak coward who suffers from nosebleeds and writes simpering letters full of lies to his religious controlling mother back in Tennessee These letters are funny to the reader because Harkleroad fills them with false stories about being brave and saving people when in reality he never leaves the base and is a sniveling moronThis character isn't as funny or as layered as Shrinkle and I feel like Abrams came down a little too heavy on making this character weak and cowardly bloated with self importance pathetic dreams of glory and an obsession with food This is of a caricature than a real man5 Sergeant Brock Lumley a brave decisive soldier who works under the moron ShrinkleFEMALE SOLDIERSThere are two female soldiers that Abrams lightly focuses on Private First Class Allison Anderson and Specialist Cinnamon Carnicle He only paints subdued character studies of these women but doesn't really try to get in their heads which I appreciate Better to back off and not try to write a woman's perspective if you are going to screw it up Some male authors can write great female character POVs etc but most can't and if you can't I'd rather you do the smart thing and stick with what you know than attempt a female POV get it horrendously wrong and make me angry with you Props to Abrams for knowing his own strengths and weaknessesI feel like Abrams treats the female soldiers with nothing but respect and good humor He did a great job in this book of making female soldiers present and realINANIMATE OBJECTSThere are two points in the book where Abrams writes from the POV of an inanimate object once a robot that works for the explosive unit and once a mortar shell that is launched by terrorists and is seeking to destroy human flesh I found these intervals interesting and well writtenIn summary a very enjoyable book Abrams doesn't mute or downplay the horrors of war this isn't a rampant comedy but he has a dry delightful sense of humor that pokes fun at army bureaucracy and some of the ridiculous aspects of army lifeUPDATE 06192018I'm thinking about re reading this Not only am I constantly recommending it to people IRL but it's still relevant today Great book


  2. Scott Scott says:

    If somewhere there is a society devoted to bleakness where to have a bleak outlook is aspired to by all and the highest virtue is to live life as bleakly as possible this book should be on their school syllabus This is not necessarily a bad thing Life can be bleak War is always bleak So it follows that life during war is likely not a fun filled prance through a flowering meadow Fobbit is a book set during the recent US led Irai conflict and while there is much humor in the book the portrait it paints of soldiers at war is one that I found terribly sad Fobbit follows the soldiering of several very different men The first Captain Abe Shrinkle is an incompetent frontline 'door kicker' who is way out of his depth in the life or death situations he finds himself in Shrinkle's constant screw ups and the death spiral of his army career are a great window into the mismanagement and butt covering that the army like any large organisation can engage in to the detriment of it's combat soldiersThe second narrative follows Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding one of the titular Fobbits REMFs in a previous era non combat personnel who spend their tours working in the airconditioned comparative safety of Forward Operating Bases also knows as FOBs Gooding spends his war writing and redrafting press releases in a sort of absurdist bureaucratic hell carrying out pointless tasks for his incompetent sniveling boss Gooding's work while safer and cushy than that of a frontline soldier is in it's own way sad and soul warping Other characters who feature prominently include Vic Duret a hardarse Colonel trying to deal with Shrinkle's incompetence and the aformentioned snivelling boss who makes Gooding's life a miseryNone of the characters are having what you would call a good deployment While some of them dodge bullets and dispense death and others wear a butt shaped groove in an air conned office chair it soon becomes clear that in Abrams' Ira nobody escapes the war without taking shrapnel of at least the psychological sort Despite this grimness Fobbit is an enjoyable read Abram's book is billed as a sort of Irai Catch 22 but to my mind this novel is blacker and less comedic than Heller's book In saying this Fobbit is still pretty funny in parts imagine The Hurt Locker meets Office Space and there are a number of memorably amusing scenes In particular Abrams' portrayal of Aussie soldiers as tanned easygoing and Fosters slugging is pretty funny although I've never seen a real aussie drink a can of Fosters LagerOverall I enjoyed Fobbit and it flows well Abrams' portrayal of war as violent confusing bureaucratic and absurd resonated with me and I felt his authentic experiences as a soldier coming through the pages Fobbit isn't the new Catch 22 but it doesn't need to be


  3. Mathew Mathew says:

    Definitely disappointed with Fobbit Mildly amusing and insightful Ira observations for the first two chapters but then it just begins to tell the same thing over and over There's no central inciting incident or storyline to drive the pages Worst the characters are all treated with an eual and baffling mild authorial disdain or contempt I get the fact that 'Fobbits' are the lowest of the low with their timidness and desk jobs I understood this after it was TOLD to me in the very first line of the book but I'm surprised there are no alternate angles of courage or wisdom to balance things out and give the story some dimension Instead we get Gooding Shrinkle and Harkleroad each pathetic than the next doing their level best to act mousy and ridiculous in scene after embarrassing scene It almost feels like Abrams wrote the book as lengthy school yard revenge against forces or individuals who had wronged him over the years It may be successful on that level but IMO not as piece of reporting or literature or storytelling


  4. Jessica Keener Jessica Keener says:

    This brilliant powerfully rendered debut seizes you by the collar; spits shouts whispers and laughs in your ear drags you through the sweat pus blood and grit of war in Ira 2005 and ultimately pulls every string in your heart to reveal at its core as only a true classic war story can the insanity of humans desperately battling the inanity of mayhem and violence Explosive and ironic sandstorms kicking up from the pages will land in your teeth This novel was written in surround sound and 3 D vision A 360 degree experience Abrams rips away every kind of mask to give those of us safe at home a glimpse of the truth


  5. John Sundman John Sundman says:

    I read an uncorrected advanced review copy; please bear in mind that some of the small problems I saw may have been fixed in the final revisionFirst the positives The book paints a convincing picture of the claustrophobic world of the Forward Operating Base during the early years of the American occupation of Baghdad around 2005 The novel describes daily life of the Army bureaucrats who live and work there fobbits with some of the residents getting a sympathetic rendering than others Along with the Fobbits sharing the same mess hall etc are the door kickers real soldiers who go out on patrol every day and sometimes return with fewer than started We see some of their experiences outside the wall as wellThe central characters of the novel work in the Public Affairs office writing press releases the most important of which of course report news of American soldiers killed in action The press releases go through various levels of editing up the chain of command starting out as bland but somewhat informative accounts of how soldiers died and ending up as mealy mouthed double talk that only mention the soldier's death in passing By the time these virtually useless dispatches have been approved and released The New York times has already reported the story in depth and CNN has shown footage of where it happened Nobody is going to read the stupid press release; nobody cares Yet the PA fobbits have to crank them out; that's their assigned role in the war effort You have only to imagine Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut telling a similar tale to get the general feel for what Abrams is attempting In one minor recurring piece there is a tiny smelly under euipped gym where some fobbits and some door kickers go to work out Abrams makes you feel how this run down depressing Recreation Facility is the last place anyone would want to be Except anywhere else that is Especially outside the walls of the FOB on the streets of Baghdad where people are trying to kill you Or even in the cubicle warren where minutes go by like hoursSo all of that is goodThe negatives are that Abrams is not yet a Heller or a Vonnegut or a Norman Mailer Abrams's heart is in the right place as he tries to convey the horror and absurdity of war horror that even bureaucrats must sometimes face but his talents don't match his ambition The book never decides whether it's an out and out satire like Catch 22 a uasi realist satire like the TV show MASH or a real character driven novel So as a result the satire tends to be generally mild while the character development is generally weak and predictable And there are literally hundreds of minor instances of cringe inducing sentences metaphors images For example early on a fobbit is described as purchasing a piece of bogus razor sharp shrapnel on the eve of his return to the USA something he can show friends as proof that he was really in a war Abrams explains how the shrapnel was made from a junked car fender by an enterprising Irai using a ball peen hammer But a ball peen hammer doesn't have a sharp edge and couldn't be used to make such a shard This isn't bad writing per se but it's unfortunate If he had just written using a ball peen hammer and a cold chisel there would have been no problem I lay the blame for a lot of these errors at the feet of Abrams's editor I liked the book well enough to finish reading it Abrams has passion and has given us an interesting look inside a Forward Operating Base which is I think a valuable contribution to our understanding of the whole war Abrams is not a horrible writer like for example Dan Brown There's real potential there But I do hope that on his next novel he works with an editor who makes liberal use of the red ink


  6. Lance Charnes Lance Charnes says:

    It took almost twenty years for the great World War Two books to start to appear; the same can be said for Vietnam books to the extent that the books were set in Vietnam and not simply about the war a la Catch 22 That means we can look forward to the first great Ira War book in about ten years In the meantime we have David Abrams’ Fobbit Fobbit was for me an exercise in mixed feelings Abrams nails the atmosphere the places the everyday life during a rear area deployment in the Sandbox I was briefly a fobbit like creature in atar which makes a cameo appearance partway through the book the Topoff’s moved since you were there Dave; I attended those meetings I edited those PowerPoint slides I read those SIGACTs I sat in those operations centers with football or NASCAR on the big screen on Sundays The rhythms of shifts in a windowless box the inanities of staff work the theme menus at the DFAC the dusty little PX – been there done that All that part is spot onHowever some of the main caricatures not a typo pushed me out of the story Fobbit has been compared to Catch 22 but the reason the latter has endured as one of the classic antiwar novels is that its characters while tweaked are essentially recognizable humans while the war and the system it engenders are the villains Abrams however stocks his work with several major characters so grotesue that they can exist only as punching bags It’s been a long long time since I’ve seen an obese slob in uniform far less an obese senior officer; I have to hope an infantry officer as spectacularly incompetent as Captain Shrinkle would’ve been weeded out before he pinned on his railroad tracks Even the solid characters – PR drudge SSG Gooding and battalion commander LTC Duret come to mind – fall into repetition of the ualities that make them types rather than humans Ironically Abrams’ secondary characters are human and believable than some of the major onesGod knows there’s plenty to lampoon about our Ira and Afghan misadventures The constantly stirring spaghetti bowl that is H organization the primacy of PowerPoint the transplanted pieces of home that make the theater even unreal the ridiculous attempts by senior leadership to impose chaste wholesomeness on young men and women trained to be aggressive and physical the drumbeat of the deployment calendar – these are the latest wrinkles on the human enterprise of war and make for great literary furniture Fobbit touches on all of these and But where Fobbit falls short – and what keeps us going back to Catch 22 and MASH and so on – is the story of how relatively normal people react to the stresses and absurdities of war This is almost there but it tries too hard and too many of its shots hit in the whiteMaybe in ten years we’ll get the Great Ira War Book Until then you can give Fobbit a try The self satirizing world in which it’s set is as good a depiction as you’ll get but keep a grain of salt or two for the characters


  7. Dan Dan says:

    While often praised as hilarious I didn't it find it so funny Sure there were parts that were mildly funny but over all felt the heft of the characters plight and its themesOverall I'd say I enjoyed it than I did The Yellow Birds but not as much as I did Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk I think this book capped off the reading of the other two books nicely and now feel like I can take a bit of a break from reading about the Ira war I am happy that all three of these recently published books took on the Ira War with the closeness and truthfulness that fiction allows


  8. John Luiz John Luiz says:

    Making war and death the subject of satire and humor is a monumentally difficult task and only a few like Joseph Heller can pull it off David Abrams achieves that difficult task here and Fobbitt fully warrants its accolades as the Catch 22 of the Ira war It's an eye opening view of the lives of soldiers operating in Forward Operating Base in the middle of Baghdad Public Affairs Office Chance Gooding serves as the moral center of the book and he is fully aware of the futility of what he does filing press releases that distort the harsh realities of the war to keep a positive spin on the effort for the folks at home while the press ignores the military's propaganda because they're way ahead of them in uncovering the real facts of every incident Gooding is surrounded by incompetents his boss who rewrites him mercifully can't stop his nose from bleeding in every moment of crisis and who blotches his clothes with continent shaped food stains from his constant over eating But perhaps the poor soldier you feel most sympathy for the hapless Captain Abe Shrinkle who does everything wrong from peeing himself when a local national and suspected suicide bomber gets his car stuck under a tank; to tossing a hand grenade into an American military fuel truck he doesn't want to have be captured by insurgents and in so doing fries a another local who had crawled under the truck His general consigns the inept captain to work the towel service at the FOB's ridiculously ill euipped gym I won't give any away about Shrinkle's fate because it's a key part of the books culmination The characters the plotting and the humor in this book are pitch perfect I enjoyed every page and was sorry to see it end It's one of a number of great books about Irai soldiers that came out this year along with the terrific Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Kevin Powers' Yellow Birds Abrams' book reads like an instant classic Abrams is a veteran and every page is fully of anecdotes and insights that only someone's who lived through this would know Care packages are a source of rich satire in the novel as Shrinkle is a hoarder of them but the book still inspired me to send one


  9. Kathy Kathy says:

    I'll be honest I did not expect to like this book as much as I did I already knew David Abrams to be a phenomenal writer And I'd read the glowing reviews and blurbs for this novel and was uick to buy it Butan Ira war comedy? But once I began reading I became engrossed in this story and these ragtag Fobbits Abrams immerses you in this world The writing flows seamlessly with sharp dialogue and uick cuts Abrams knows where to linger and where to just touch base and move on All the many characters jump off the page they are so alive And the book is undeniably funny Then there are these momentsChance stared at the TV screens Al Arabiya TV was showing footage from the scene Bodies were stacked like cordwood along the pavement Some were covered with sheets some were draped in tarps of gold foil perhaps some building material dug out of the trash nearby When they ran out of materials to use mourners just pulled shirts up over the dead faces Still as the camera panned along the sidewalk morgue the breeze lifted the corners of the blankets and the gold foil and the dead looked at Gooding through the camera the open mouths with their teeth dirtied by river water the rolled back eyes the knitted brows the look of confusion A young boy in a T shirt flies walking across his eyeballs reached out his arms for his mother her face up on the bridge rapidly receding from his field of vision The camera panned The buckled limbs the splayed feet the hundreds and hundreds of shapeless mounds beneath the sheets it was almost too much for Gooding to bearI can't recommend this novel enough Or anything that Abrams writes for that matter I look forward to whatever comes next from this author


  10. Jim Jim says:

    In the spirit of openess I never served never tried to join and therefore cannot comment on the accuracy of this fictional account of behind the scenes operations in Baghdad That being said especially in the case of military oriented books with a supposedly humorous spin it really is unfair when writers are compared to the greats of the genre largely the fault of publishers eager to ring up sales and Abrams is no Joseph Heller but this isn't a bad book and does approach things with somewhat the same angle even making references to CATCH 22 However it also didn't grab me or entertain me in the same way as the classic did And although front line soldiers do look down upon support staff the book goes out of its way to denigrate their importance and of course this is fiction as if most of them had a choice in where they were assigned Besides some people have to do these jobs in the radically different type of war and modern technological advances in communications and engagement No doubt the characters portrayed are exaggerations of actual people or likely combinations of people but still I wonder if they deserve the opprobrium It is moderately amusing and there are some enjoyable moments but overall I wasn't too impressed An average read


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Fobbit❰Reading❯ ➿ Fobbit Author David Abrams – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Fobbit ’fä bit noun Definition A US soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base esp during Operation Irai Freedom 2003 2011 PejorativeIn the satirical t Fobbit ’fä bit noun Definition A US soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base esp during Operation Irai Freedom PejorativeIn the satirical tradition of Catch and MASH Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph The Forward Operating base or FOB is like the back office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like an office job Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acuainted grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions and a lot of the senior staff are concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all you can eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategyDarkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Ira Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind the scenes portrait of the real Ira war.


About the Author: David Abrams

David Abrams is the author of the novels Brave Deeds GroveAtlantic and Fobbit GroveAtlantic Fobbit was named a New York Times Notable Book of an Indie Next pick a Barnes Noble Discover Great New Writers selection a Montana Honor Book and a finalist for the LA Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction Abrams' short stories have appeared in Esuire Glimmer Train.