• Shell Shock by Neil Blower - Review by Captain_Crusty

    'Shell Shock - the diary of Tommy Atkins' (to give it its full title) is a soldier's view of PTSD. Written by Neil Blower who served in the RTR for five years before being diagnosed with PTSD himself, the writing of this book was recommended to him as a cathartic vent.

    1 from the sale of every book goes to Combat Stress, the charity that supports ex-servicemen and women with stress related issues.

    This book is going to be reviewed by three different reviewers: a member of the serving military (me), an ex-member and a dependent. The reviewing process was a pleasure as my copy came in Kindle format!

    Click here to buy this book from Amazon

    Written in the style of a diary, it follows the trials and tribulations of a young man leaving the army for life on civvy street. As the diary progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that he is struggling to deal with life and his responses to everyday situations. The book is written in the vernacular; Blower being an ex-squaddie clearly understands his subject well and writes well too. It is a short book - it took me about an hour to read but this doesn't necessarily lessen its impact. In fact for its target audience (given the book's presentational style and patois, I presume this is aimed at the youth market to help them understand what their military contempories are going through)this shortness is probably a selling point.

    This is my only real gripe/issue with the book - it has been written with a very specific target audience in mind. So specific that it may alienate a wider audience, especially of an older generation (by which I mean anyone over the age of 30!); added to which the target audience is unfortunately exactly the age group who read relatively few books.

    Don't get me wrong - the book is well written, portrays the lead character in a sensitive yet brutally honest manner and is as good an insight into someone's downward journey into PTSD as I have come across. It's just I have my doubts as to how many copies are going to get sold unfortunately.

    I await with interest my fellow reviewers' views!

    3 1/2 Wine Glasses


    Click here to buy this book from Amazon
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Auld_Yin's Avatar
      Auld_Yin -
      As CC says in his review, this is the first of three reviews.

      Shell shock, or PTSD as it is known today, is a very relevant and sensitive subject which is viewed differently by different sectors of the populace.

      In order to get an idea of the impact, we have had this book reviewed by a serving soldier (this one), an ex soldier and also by a non-military person (from Rear Party), but still with links to the services. I had thought to post them together, but to get the most out of these reviews, I am going to put a few days in between them.

      If you read this, please come back for the other reviews - and leave your comments, that is so important.What is even more important is - buy the book and read one man's spiral into the hell of PTSD.