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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
Stormy Weather by Ranaildo H. Timms is a short memoir of the author’s time in the Marine Corps. In the preface, the author claims not to be a writer but to know how to tell a story. We learn something about his high school days in Alabama where he preferred playing football to studying, and we learn a bit about his close-knit family. After graduation when most of his buddies were going off to college or into jobs, he shocks his family and friends by enlisting in the Marines. Then he tells the story from the first day of getting on the bus and heading to Parris Island, his basic training, his combat training, and his eventual deployment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. That was during the tragic tsunami in Japan when his ship could not dock due to the suspicion of radiation caused by that country's nuclear disaster.
Ranaildo H. Timms is right that he knows how to tell a story. I enjoyed his downhome, unsophisticated voice which comes through his writing, making it seem like a tale told over a few beers or maybe on a bench a la Forrest Gump. That voice is honest, self-deprecating, and with a friendly working-class charm. But it also shows the trials, mishaps, and victories of Marine training. Most interesting to me was the bonding that occurred between him and his fellow recruits and then Marines, which eventually defies his earlier pledge—“bros before hoes”—and leads to his complex love relationships with two female compatriots on the aircraft carrier where they all worked in the Navy’s laundry room. It’s a touching and gritty story, naturally and skillfully told, funny, scary, sad, and real. And it ends all too soon, with several unanswered questions. I hope that in the near future Mr. Timms will pick up his pen and give us some more of his natural and honest storytelling skills.