Many choose to serve their country through one of the different branches of the military. Each branch has its distinct heritage, and those who have served often hold their training and abilities learned for a lifetime. Yet not everyone has the same experience.
In Dyslexic Dick by Richard “Dick” W. Kraemer, we are given a view of entirely different circumstances and experiences. Often what we know about the different branches comes from knowing a family member or friend who has served. Many are silent and hold their time and experience close, not sharing that interval of their life with anyone except with friends they made in their own branch. Others let fly everything that occurred. With every choice there is both good and bad.
Kraemer has given us a view of his own experiences. Having found a way to enlist in the Marine Corps, he finds difficulty with many of the training exercises, often due to a genetic condition called dyslexia. Dyslexia is typically more of a hardship in school, making reading difficult, but there are other side effects which he brings to light as he moves through training.
Throughout the narrative, the author is very open about his anger, also unapologetic and very succinct in his description of his experience. He brings his own brand of humor as well as his diary-like journaling and takes us through his passage as a young man with jaded eyes, enlightening us to some of the pitfalls and decisions. He is open about his own activities, which were sometimes criminal in nature, as well as the drug culture of the time. He also discusses those in charge who may have crossed the line in punishment, often with their own hidden agendas.
His story deals with both his home life and his time abroad. He discusses his romances and his heartaches. His accomplishments and his criminal activities are laid out in succession, and he is open and quite unapologetic about his past, as it is a part of who he is now. Kraemer relates his own experiences as he sees them, and recognizes both the good and the bad. Much of what he writes seems hard to understand.
But if you enjoy autobiographies and want to get a different view of the military you may find this book to your liking. There is humor and yet there is pain and loss. There also seems to be a bit of underlying anger, suppressed but still showing through in places.
This would be a good book for a discussion group; I am sure it would create a great deal of controversy and conversation.