"You tell me who told these ants how to make water."
26 January 2010
7. The Short-timers
The Short-timers - Gustav Hasford
This was an awesome book. The movie Full Metal Jacket was based on this novel. I loved this movie, and I loved the book even more.
At first I thought the book was going to be exactly like the movie and it would be a bit of a letdown because I would already know what was going to happen. I thought that because the movie stick very close to the whole basic training part of the story just as it was written. Almost exactly. I could hear the Gunnery Sergeant saying the words with the same voice the actor used. "Your days of finger-banging old Mary Jane Rottencrotch through her pretty pink panties are over!" It was so darned memorable. :-)
The book was divided up into three sections. Section one was called "The Spirit of the Bayonet". It was the entire training section of the movie. Sections two and three were called "Body Count" and "Grunts". The movie took these two sections and scrambled up the story a lot. It was very different from the beginning of the second section till the end...and shocking.
The Body Count section is where Private Joker spends time in Vietnam as a reporter for Stars and Stripes. The action never stops.
When Joker gets busted for wearing his peace symbol button he is assigned to a unit at the front and becomes a "grunt". This is where the story has major changes.
I tried not to describe the story too much because I do not want to spoil it. I can not state enough how different it is. How the characters come to life. How the feeling of the war becomes part of the reader. I liked it so much more than I ever expected.
Go get this one right away. The movie was an ass-whooping...the book is a nuclear detonation!