Fallen Angels: a Though Provoking Thriller

Dominic Bova ‘15
EE Contributor

Although it occurred over four decades ago Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, allows readers to experience the Vietnam War with the creative imagery. The novel follows the experiences of a US soldier, known to the readers as Perry. Perry is a young African American man from Brooklyn. Throughout his experience in the war we see him form relationships with other soldiers to the point where they refer to each other as brothers. While fictional, the book accurately displays many common events during the Vietnam War and portrays them through a first person account of Perry.

Perry’s thoughts and dialogues become the content of this book. Every conversation and event is witnessed through the eyes of Perry and then conveyed to the reader. Whether he is navigating a mine field or trapped behind enemy lines, Perry conveys proper emotion and reaction according to his situation. Throughout the book, flashbacks of memories are retold by Perry. In one, we learn about why he ended up in the army after all. Due to financial troubles, Perry was unable to attend college and decided to fight in the war. Other soldiers give him grief over this, wondering why anyone would volunteer for such a thing.

As a reader who is particularly interested in war time novels, I found this book to be a great read. The senses conveyed by the narrator accurately describe what I could best imagine any soldier’s reactions to the events in the war to be like. The friendships that were made and the ups and downs of the war help to keep any reader on their feet. Just when you think the war is ending and Perry is going home, the author switches things up and the story continues with even more problems. I would best describe this book as a thought provoking thriller because it causes two major things to occur in the readers mind. First, it makes the reader think about this time in our nation’s past and teaches them about some of the things that occurred. Secondly, it follows this story of one man that is so unexpected and ever changing that it puts predictability out of the question. Any reader over the age of 15 should have no trouble navigating and appreciating this great novel. Marked as just another success by Walter Dean Myers, Fallen Angels, serves to inform and excite readers on an important topic from history. Although the friendships Perry makes in this novel seem long lasting, many men don’t live to see the end of the war. Towards the end of the book Perry has a major confrontation with the enemy and sees the total cruelty of the war. With his life on the line, Perry is forced to make a decision that will help or hurt him and his team. To find out if Perry makes it out alive, read Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers.

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