With the impressive tagline of “The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” I purchased this book in the hope it would be a thrilling insight into the life of a Navy Seal who is the inspiration for the film of the same name starring Bradley Cooper. However, it was a bit of a let-down, and I ended up starting to feel annoyed with him and the ghost writers for their literary style and the choice of content.
To kick things off, I didn’t complete the book, I read to page 237 and I was not finding the book particularly thrilling, and I thought to myself, ‘if I’m not enjoying or finding the book interesting, why am I reading it?’
I have nothing but respect for Chris Kyle, he has done a remarkable job for his country and he has seen things and done things I would never dream of doing. He has all the necessary attributes to become a Navy Seal; bravery, courage, confidence, strength and so many other abilities and traits that have helped him achieve his 150 kills while on active service for his country.
However, there are so many things I dislike about the book, especially the style of writing Kyle and his ghost writers use. The main issue I have is that it is written as if it is a conversation, this may appeal to people that do not read much, but for me, it was unpleasant and was too colloquial. A personal favourite line Kyle tends to use a lot is: “Being a SEAL”, “As I was a SEAL”, “Having being a SEAL” and so on. We know you are/were a SEAL; there isn’t a need to start so many sentences with this. Kyle also goes in to intense detail when describing a plethora of weapons, this doesn’t help the book or his story flow at all and I had to drag myself through these long paragraphs of description and excessive details that would only appeal to someone who knows a lot about guns, especially American issued guns. Another thing, there is absolutely huge amounts of organisations, ranks, courses, weapons etc, that are shortened to abbreviations. And the abbreviations are also explained, this therefore, also slows down the pace of his story and also taxes on your memory skills to try and remember all of the abbreviations.
My annoyance with Kyle’s personality, he comes across as arrogant, cocky, and selfish and he blames these faults because he is a SEAL (That happens a lot). He gets involved in bar fights for seemingly no reason other than to show people what he can do, and he gets angry and threatening to people who drive beside him, give him a dodgy look or say something about him. His selfishness comes out mainly in his marriage, he doesn’t seem to value his wife’s opinion or understand her feelings, especially concerning their son, and he openly admits he didn’t have a close relationship with him to begin with and he didn’t mind! He only seemed interested in his son when he started doing things like crawling and walking!
I am undecided on whether to watch the film of this or not as I am fan of Bradley Cooper and war based films. If the film isn’t based on the type of person Kyle is then it could be a good film, with the action in Fallujah particularly exciting. I would say that the only people this book would appeal to are people that those that have connections with people in the armed forces or who are interested in that career path.