When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.
I was really unprepared going into Something Like Normal. I’d saw people raving about, but I completely missed the memo about this being from a male perspective. What a happy surprise that was! I used to avoid books with male narratives like the plague but now I count them among my favorites, especially if they’re done well and Something Like Normal is done extraordinarily well.
Something Like Normal is only 224 pages but Trish Doller fills every one of those pages with something incredible. Travis is so damaged, but he’s still very likeable. Honestly, I just thought that Travis was a pretty amazing character. The odds are stacked against him and he’s dealing with so much. No matter how many times he said he wasn’t a good guy he always felt like a purely good person to me. There’s just something about him that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s that he felt so real to me. I instantly liked him. Not because of his sense of humor or his semi bad boy ways, but just because he’s someone that I would want to hang out with in real life. I maybe wanted to fix him just a little too, but you can’t help that.
I haven’t read many other books that deal with war or PTSD and I found it all really interesting. I can’t imagine what that must be like but Doller did a excellent job bringing it to life in Something Like Normal. I urge you to read this book. It’s one of those that no matter what I say I’m never going to do it justice. So please, please read it. It’s a very fast and incredible read.