Review: LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by George Bishop

Book Reviews by Molly read and reviewed Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop.  Here’s an excerpt:

“She recounts her relationship with a boy she loved despite her parents’ disapproval, the fateful events that led to her being sent away to a strict Catholic boarding school, the personal tragedy brought upon her by the Vietnam War, and, finally, the meaning of the enigmatic tattoo below her right hip.”

Read the full review.


**Attention participants:  Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Review: LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by George Bishop

Tutu’s Two Cents recently reviewed Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop for the Vietnam War Reading Challenge.  Here’s an excerpt from the review:

There were several surprises for me when I started reading this book.  For some reason, I thought this was going to be a book about letters from a father serving in Vietnam to his daughter. But, it turns out the entire book is one long letter written by a MOTHER to her 15 year old daughter who has just run-away.  Mom wants her daughter to know that she understands how it feels to be 15 and misunderstood by the world.

Read the complete review here.

**Attention participants:  Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Reviews: LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by George Bishop

Several participants in the Vietnam War Reading Challenge recently review Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop.  Here are excerpts from their reviews; click the links to read their complete thoughts.

Savvy Verse & Wit says, “Bishop’s prose is poetic and easily absorbing, transporting readers to a tumultuous time in U.S. history when the country was divided about war. ”

Diary of an Eccentric says, “Bishop writes about first love with tenderness, and he does a good job showing how difficult war can be both for soldiers and the ones they leave behind.”

Books and Movies says, “In this slim novel, Bishop has written a very human story that deals not only with the mother-daughter relationship, but the horrors and realities of war and how it changes the men and women involved, both the ones who serve and the ones who are left behind.

**Attention participants:  Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

The Vietnam Episodes in Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop, Jr.

Today, we have a special guest here at War Through the GenerationsGeorge Bishop, Jr., author of the debut, Vietnam War novel Letter to My Daughter (this link leads to an affiliate page where the blog will receive a few cents if you purchase the book).  Please give George a warm welcome.

I’m pleased my novel Letter to My Daughter made its way to your website.  Although the frame of the story is a mother’s letter to her runaway daughter, an important part of the story also concerns the Vietnam War, so I think it’s entirely appropriate that my book should be featured here.

In my story, a fifty-year-old housewife in Baton Rouge remembers her boyfriend, Tim, who went off to serve in Vietnam in 1970.  They stayed in touch through letters that the boy sent to her, and later, she recollects these letters to her daughter. Although historical facts like dates and specific battles aren’t mentioned in my novel, I wanted Tim’s career as a soldier to be plausible—when he enlisted, where he might’ve gone for training, where he was deployed, his job, rank, and so forth.  Because I don’t have any military experience myself, and don’t know anyone who fought in the Vietnam War, I had to do quite a bit of research in order to get all this right.

Some of the best resources I found were websites maintained by veterans of various units that fought in Vietnam. Sites like the ones by veterans of the Army Security Agency and the 8th Radio Research Field Station, for example, are a treasure house of personal recollections and photographs, and they gave me an idea of what daily life might have been like for a boy like Tim.  What did he wear?  What did he see?  What did he eat and drink?  I found a menu from a Thanksgiving dinner provided one year to soldiers in Vietnam, for instance, which ended up in my novel.  I also stumbled across the detail of how to heat C-rations on the exhaust manifold of a Jeep.  It’s precisely these kinds of details that give a sense of reality to fiction, and through sites like these, I was able to find those details.

In my novel, Tim relays all these things in his letters back home, so in addition to getting the details right, I wanted to get the tone of his letters right, too.  On sites like the above I found copies of letters that soldiers had written home; most of these letters are posted by the veterans themselves.  I also relied on books of collected letters, like Bill Adler’s Letters from Vietnam and Bernard Edelman’s Dear America:  Letters Home From Vietnam.

In reading these letters, I was continually struck by how very young the soldiers usually were.  Like my fictional character Tim, many of them were small-town boys with high-school educations who had hardly traveled outside their states before they ended up in Vietnam.  So not only were they facing all the challenges, and horrors, of a military life, they were also facing for the first time another culture, and a very foreign one, at that.  All this is evidenced in their letters.  What’s remarkable is how most of them were able to weather their wartime experiences with such equanimity, humor, and decency.

Ultimately, in fiction all the research only goes to support the story.  Though I’d hesitate to say that Letter to My Daughter is “about” Vietnam, I certainly believe that it’s the Vietnam episodes that give the book its moral center.  And I hope that with my depiction of Tim and his experiences in Vietnam, I not only got it right, but I also, in a small way, honored all soldiers like him who lived and died there.

About the Author:

George Bishop, Jr., graduated with degrees in English Literature and Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles to become an actor. After eight years of commercials, stage plays, guest starring roles in TV sitcoms, and the lead in a B-movie called Teen Vamp, he traveled overseas as a volunteer English teacher to Czechoslovakia.

He enjoyed the ex-pat life so much that he stayed on, living and teaching in Turkey and Indonesia before returning to the States to earn his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, where he won the department’s Award of Excellence for a collection of stories.

After several years of teaching at UNC Wilmington, he moved back overseas, first on a fellowship with the Open Society Institute in Azerbaijan, then with the US State Department’s Office of English Language Programs in India.  Most recently he taught with a University of Montana program at Toyo University in Tokyo.

His stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The Oxford American, The Third Coast, Press, American Writing, The Turkish Daily News, The Caspian Business News, and Vorm (in Dutch).

Letter to My Daughter (Ballantine Books, Spring 2010) is his first published novel.

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on title and image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary, though appreciated.

Review: LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER by George Bishop

Bermudaonion recently read and reviewed Letter to my Daughter by George Bishop for the 2010 Vietnam War Reading Challenge.  Here’s an excerpt from her review:

George Bishop does a remarkable job writing from a female point of view.  He does such a remarkable job evoking emotion that I felt that I was sitting at the table with Laura while she was struggling with pain and doubt and pouring her heart out.

Read the full review.

Michele from A Reader’s Respite also reviewed this book, and here’s an excerpt:

We recently acquired a copy of George Bishop’s new novel A Letter to My Daughter and damned if we didn’t puddle up.  This short (only 126 pages) novel packs a pretty big punch.

Read the full review.

**Attention participants:  Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

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