Most American fiction about the wars in which we’ve been embroiled seems to focus on the gun carriers — the guys that comprise the pointy end of the stick — and rightfully so, given that their stories will have the most potential for drama and for visiting themes of morality. In Fobbit, we spend a large majority of our time following the guys that, in previous wars, were referred to as the “REMFs” (that’s “rear echelon motherfuckers”) or worse.
Our story, set at a FOB (Forward Operating Base) on the grounds of one of many of Saddam’s palaces, in Baghdad follows public affairs officer Chance Gooding, Jr., and his nemesis, infantry Captain Abe Shrinkle. What Shrinkle fucks up, Gooding must unfuck, within the constraints of the public relations morass of trying to sell the war as a necessary and heroic endeavor.
Fobbit succeeds in being darkly funny — like it’s satirical predecessor M*A*S*H, Abrams’s work is populated with a cast of damaged, unusual, human characters that despite their less-than-ideal natures are compelling and easily empathized with. They live on the fringes of the military world, but are still subjected to its horrors.
This is a book that you don’t need a military background to read — despite Abram’s status as an Iraq War vet, his approach to the work is decidedly accessible. This is a book worth reading.