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At age 18, Matt Young signed up for the Marine Corps. “You’ve chosen the United States Marine Corps infantry based on one thing,” he says to himself. “You got drunk last night and crashed your car into a fire hydrant sometime in the early morning and think – because your idea of masculinity is severely twisted and damaged by the male figures in your life and the media with which you surround yourself – that the only way to change is the self-flagellation achieved by signing up for war.”
Eat the Apple is a memoir that doesn’t read like a memoir—it is dark, dirty, morally ambiguous, and completely immersive. At various moments it feels like fiction, an irreverent poem, or a long joke, but it’s all true, and it all happened to Matt Young in the course of his three deployments to Iraq. Each chapter in Eat the Apple is something unexpected, and packs its own devastating emotional punch. With unflinching honesty, Young recounts the self-consciously masculine, violent world of the Marines. He writes to himself, saying “Your experience will not be what you think. You will be exploded and shot at and made a fool of and hated and feared and loved and fellated and fucked and lonely and tired and suicidal.” Young writes about the fractured memories and traumas of a soldier at war, playing freely with form and with a wicked sense of humor. Eat the Apple is a raw, remarkably unique look at war through the eyes of the common soldier.
Matt Young is a Marine Corps infantry veteran (deployed to Iraq three times between 2005 and 2009), a teacher, and writer. His work can be found in Incoming: Veteran Writers on Coming Home, CONSEQUENCE, Split Lip, Word Riot, Tin House, and many others. He teaches creative writing at Centralia College in Washington State and lives in Olympia, WA.
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