Forum Navigation: Forum Index » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Other Fiction Forum

Want FREE books and FREE Amazon gift cards?

Each day we announce via email a book that is either FREE or on a temporary sale at a great discount price. These are not your average free books. These are incredible insider deals on well-rated books. OnlineBookClub.org is where tomorrow's bestsellers are born. We also give away over $1,000 per month of free Amazon gift cards in free daily giveaways, exclusively to those signed up to these announcements! Hurry, sign up free now:

Sorry, this proves you are human.

Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durkota

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.

Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durkota

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 30 Jul 2015, 19:52

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Once in a Blue Year" by Michael D. Durkota.]

Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
Share This Review

Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durkota is a debut novel in the Other Fiction genre. It examines the psyche of Navy personnel during wartime and the emotional toll on the people left behind. Two young Navy petty officers, Trevor and Dan, are cut before a Gulf War submarine mission for different reasons. Dan is given a medical discharge and Trevor is replaced at the last minute due to concerns about his uncontrollable behavior. Before Lead Petty Officer Nathan ships out, he invites Dan to stay in his home; it’s a good arrangement since Dan needs a place to live and Nathan would have a friend watching over his wife and baby while he’s away.

Dan and Trevor also deal with the flashbacks of a traumatic event at sea. In Dan’s case, going home is a major adjustment since he is accustomed to the military culture and being on a war footing. On one hand, he is glad to be away from the ship. Still, he has lost her bearings and needs to adjust to the “new normal.”

Certainly the issue of men returning to civilian life after the military is not a new one. Still, the author offers a fresh take on this well-worn topic. I liked the juxtaposition of Dan living with Nathan’s wife Heather while Nathan is away. It allows the reader to see Dan coping with the next stage of his life alongside Heather handling Nathan’s long absences. Her daily chalkboard counting of the days Nathan has been away is a good plot device, particularly as circumstances change. It’s also interesting to see that Trevor is so upset that he was cut from the mission while Nathan volunteered for it, even though he had just come home from a long deployment. It is clear that Trevor and Nathan are more comfortable away at sea than being home.

I quickly grew to care about Dan and Trevor, who are interesting, layered characters. The story is written in third person and switches between Trevor and Dan’s perspectives. The supporting characters could have been fleshed out more. Heather is upset that Nathan is away yet again on a long, dangerous deployment. Still, I didn’t have a good sense of her other than as a cliché, the young military wife who has been left behind at home. Jags, a fellow petty officer, is comical in his questionable mental state. It is unclear whether he is faking it to get out of sea duty. In particular, I think Nathan’s character could have been more developed. The author whets the reader’s appetite with a glimpse of Nathan’s possibly unstable personality, notably in a flashback early in the story. I would have liked to know more about him.

The story is quietly powerful. The author’s lyrical writing style is a joy to read, purely from a writing standpoint. The imagery is flawless. Before the submarine leaves port, there is “one last glimpse of horizon, one last gulp of fresh air.” When Dan goes to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for a job interview, I was transported to the claustrophobic maze of rooms, complete with chemical and plastic smells, the buzz of fluorescent lights, and thick air. With a subtle touch, the author always made me feel like I was right there, whether it was at sea in flashbacks or stateside with Trevor in the barracks and Dan and Heather at home.

The pacing moves along at a snail’s pace. Normally a fast reader, it took me a relatively long time to finish this book. There were several passages about Dan developing photos in a makeshift darkroom that were a few pages too long and tedious to read. In general, it seems that the story is being viewed in slow motion. Dan struggles to transition to life after the Navy, however slowly. I think it’s natural that a submariner coming home would have the feeling of “what do I do now?” As for Trevor, the emotional angle is portrayed well. His lingering insecurities and anger from an abusive childhood affect his relationships as well as his job. While the pacing is slow, I found the exploration of the characters’ mindsets fascinating.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would give it 3.5 stars if the rating system allowed. The story is well-written with a lyrical style that borders on poetry at times. I find myself still thinking about the characters and that’s always a sign of a good book. Still, the plot moves along too slowly throughout most of the book. There is nothing propelling the story forward, although this may be intentional given the subject matter, primarily Dan’s inability to move in a new direction after the Navy. I would recommend this book to military families who can relate to the emotional costs of long deployments. Really anyone who appreciates excellent writing will enjoy this one.

******
Once in a Blue Year
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like bookowlie's review? Post a comment saying so!
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Did you know?
 
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#2 by Levi
» 02 Aug 2015, 11:18

Fantastic review, Owlie!! You have such great form while still showing personality, and I really admire that. I like how you highlighted the flawless imagery and lyrical writing style as I have missed that lately. Maybe I should give this book a read soon. Thanks, Owlie!
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Levi
 
Posts: 1376
Joined: 07 Jun 2015, 13:59
Favorite Author: S. Morgenstern ha ha
Favorite Book: Crik
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bookshelf Size: 542 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 60 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#3 by bluemel4
» 02 Aug 2015, 11:52

Great review. It sounds like an interesting look into the psyche of the entire war culture. I am going to take a pass on this one.
"Life is a journey, not a destination" --Ralph Waldo Emerson
bluemel4's Latest Review: "Severed Threads" by Kaylin McFarren
User avatar
bluemel4
Previous Member of the Month
 
Posts: 5220
Joined: 01 Mar 2015, 14:43
Location: Chicago, IL
Favorite Author: Anne Bishop
Currently Reading: The Dark Tower, Books 1-3
Bookshelf Size: 242 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#4 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 12:23

Thanks Escapeartist and Bluemel for the kind words. The author is a former Navy submariner and he really nailed the subject matter.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#5 by gali
» 02 Aug 2015, 12:25

A book that examines the psyche of Navy personnel during wartime? Sounds good. Too bad about the slow pace, though. Great review, indeed. I am glad you liked the book. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
gali's Latest Review: "Enough Rope" by P.L. Doss
User avatar
gali
Site Admin
 
Posts: 24680
Joined: 22 Oct 2013, 07:12
Location: Lost in a good book
Favorite Author: Agatha Christie
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice
Currently Reading: The House of Unexpected Sisters
Bookshelf Size: 1690 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle (E-Ink)
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 104%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 12:42

Thanks Gali. It was an interesting read.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#7 by Levi
» 02 Aug 2015, 17:47

You're welcome!! Your reviews are great, and authors are lucky to have you review their books.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Levi
 
Posts: 1376
Joined: 07 Jun 2015, 13:59
Favorite Author: S. Morgenstern ha ha
Favorite Book: Crik
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bookshelf Size: 542 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 60 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#8 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 18:12

Thank you! In this case, I was the lucky one. The book was very well-written and thought-provoking. I can't imagine what it would be like to be away on a submarine for 3 months or more.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#9 by Levi
» 02 Aug 2015, 18:38

Any kind of time away on a submarine, or any ship for that matter, is intriguing to me as well, Owlie. And the effects of deployments or any kind of family-splitting life event is also interesting to hear.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Levi
 
Posts: 1376
Joined: 07 Jun 2015, 13:59
Favorite Author: S. Morgenstern ha ha
Favorite Book: Crik
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bookshelf Size: 542 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 60 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#10 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 18:47

It was so strange that a few of the characters couldn't wait to go back on deployment.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#11 by Levi
» 02 Aug 2015, 19:14

That's what happens, Owlie. I have a few friends that have deployed, and the craziness of military life or war becomes something they know how to deal with, and when they come back it's hard to deal with normalcy and other people's complacency.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." —Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Levi
 
Posts: 1376
Joined: 07 Jun 2015, 13:59
Favorite Author: S. Morgenstern ha ha
Favorite Book: Crik
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bookshelf Size: 542 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 60 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#12 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 19:54

I think war missions are really hard to come back from. Even the ones who don't have PTSD still have to adjust to the regular, mundane things of life back home. What I liked about the book is that it showed one guy who was glad to be off the submarine and others who couldn't wait to go back.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#13 by bluemel4
» 02 Aug 2015, 20:15

Is the book anything like the movie The Hurt Locker? It was an amazing look at the struggle between coming home and redeployment. If the book is anything like that I think I'll have to add this to my to-read list.
"Life is a journey, not a destination" --Ralph Waldo Emerson
bluemel4's Latest Review: "Severed Threads" by Kaylin McFarren
User avatar
bluemel4
Previous Member of the Month
 
Posts: 5220
Joined: 01 Mar 2015, 14:43
Location: Chicago, IL
Favorite Author: Anne Bishop
Currently Reading: The Dark Tower, Books 1-3
Bookshelf Size: 242 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle Paperwhite
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#14 by bookowlie
» 02 Aug 2015, 20:20

I never saw The Hurt Locker. I will have to look it up.
As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
User avatar
bookowlie
Special Discussion Leader
 
Posts: 6371
Joined: 25 Oct 2014, 09:52
Favorite Book: The Lost Continent
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 254 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 52 Books
Goal Completion: 92%

Re: Official Review: Once in a Blue Year by Michael D. Durko

Post Number:#15 by zeldas_lullaby
» 02 Aug 2015, 22:40

Great review! I think if you all know me by now, then you know my likelihood of reading this book. It does sound like a great book, though. Your review was in-depth and vivid. :-)
User avatar
zeldas_lullaby
 
Posts: 5985
Joined: 27 Mar 2013, 20:01
Location: ------------
Favorite Author: ---------
Favorite Book: The Thorn Birds
Currently Reading: The Last Stonestepper
Bookshelf Size: 79 books
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Navigation

Return Home » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Other Fiction Forum