‘A Joy To Read’
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s not the sort of thing I’d commonly read - a writer gets to spend a two-week residency aboard a US aircraft carrier - but it’s wonderfully written and that made it enjoyable to read.
The author doesn’t take a pandering tone - it’s clear he disagrees with some of the people and their attitudes (particularly when it comes to religion). But he does seem to genuinely like and respect these people too. Mostly. And he has a very self-deprecating style - talking freely about how he’d hate having to share a room for 6 people (and how one for 6 people would be even worse than the one for 200 people!)
To give you a bit of a flavour of the author’s style and his occasion forays out of his depth, here’s a lovely bit. To set the scene, he’s just gone to the onboard gym:
Anthony Benning, the Fit Boss, was standing next to me, wearing a T-shirt and biceps. He had grown up in a military family but was actually a civilian, supervising the exercise program on ship. From what I could see his job resembled that of a bouncer, stopping people getting in. The gym was filled to capacity so he was operating a one-in-one-out policy that you get at overcrowded nightclubs. I didn’t know what to say but, feeling I ought to ask a question, said:
‘How big can a human arm become before it stops being a limb and morphs into something else?’
I genuinely laughed out loud at that bit.