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Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
Good For One Ride by Gary McGinnis is a moving semi-autobiographical account of the time spent in Vietnam by a Water Purification Specialist. Private Theo Garrett is part of the 2nd Infantry Division, 2nd Engineers. He and his fellow soldiers are in charge of making sure there is drinkable water wherever the units move. In a seemingly harmless exercise, Private Garrett is faced with sleepless nights surrounded by Viet Cong and endless mortar fire. Garrett and many of the other soldiers struggle to cope with the atrocities before them, often turning a blind eye to clear cases of injustice. A harrowing tale of one man’s journey from his safe home in Vermont to the harsh world of the Vietnam War.
Not having read much about the Vietnam War, I was very intrigued by Mr. McGinnis’ memoir-style novel. I expected something akin to The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I was pleasantly surprised by the content of the book. I found the poems at the beginning of each chapter very succinct, preparing the reader with just the right level of emotion for the coming chapter. I was particularly pleased by the way Mr. McGinnis writes so candidly about the things Private Garrett experiences. I did have a difficult time following the story at some points and I am sure this was meant to reflect the chaos of the war itself. Another look through by an editor would be the ideal thing to tighten up the manuscript. Good For One Ride is an emotional, to-the-point novel that will leave the reader contemplating the meaning of war long after they finish the last page.