BREAKFAST WITH THE DIRT CULT is a coming of age story set against the horror of war. It is a compelling look at the evolution of a soldier’s beliefs as he struggles to make sense of what has happened to him and the people around him.
BREAKFAST WITH THE DIRT CULT at first seems like one more testosterone drenched tale of men and weapons. While the colorful language and almost constant misogyny at times seems to overtake the plot, at about midpoint in the story Tom becomes introspective, trying to determine the reason for the war and finding common human bonds with the Afghanis. His wound and the accompanying disability causes him to reflect on the life of a foot soldier and the political meaning of war. What begins as William Blake’s “hapless soldier’s sigh” becomes an anguished howl of anger at what has happened to America.
The constant drum beat of patriotism and flag waving have created a generation of disposable young people who are motivated to fight for their country but in reality are simply defending corporate interests. The war has cost Tom his limb, his buddies and his girlfriend.
Mr. Finlay creates an absorbing scene where Tom’s anger, loss and PTSD come together to give a rational reason for suicide as the only means to address his situation.
Tom’s response to this, on the last pages is both abrupt and hopeful as he prepares for a life outside the tribe of 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company.
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