The now of the debate over United States involvement in Syria reminded me of a recent novel that I read. It was written by a Red Room contributor and author, Kristen J. Tsetsi. Pretty Much True… This novel explores so many areas of the conflict that many face when determining the right and wrong of war. Kristen captures a variety of characterizations that leaves the reader questioning but understanding the deep rooted emotions that surface when war becomes the topic. Tsetsi unravels memories of her characters’ past, present, and future views of life and keeps the reader totally involved in the “what’s next” of the novel.
Mia., the main character, wrestles everyday with the struggle of the deployment of her friend and love, Jake. Every area and relationship encountered after his departure reflects a constant of expectations. Ever present are Mia’s thoughts of uncertain but possible conclusions to war. Her pain is magnified with the loyalty discussions that engulf her conversations . Tsetsi's written character dialog expresses the two sided pros and cons of patriotism.
In Pretty Much True…Mia has her own personalization of the war. She focuses on keeping a job as a cab driver that allows the flexibility needed for a little money and time to re-route her thoughts. Also,it leads to establishing a rocky friendship with a Viet Nam veteran, Donny. To the extent of female relationships in the book, Mia has the range of employer, neighbor, wife of a friend of Jakes, and Mother –In-Law. All demonstrated the emotional void that Mia tried to fill in the absence of Jake. Relating to the spirit of Mia and Jakes’ Mother the reader can easily identify the possessive balance both yielded to the other for the love of Jake. Tsetsi does not ignore the challenge of examining the feelings of sexuality that can be present when missing a loved one. However, she writes in a sensitive and mature manner. An open narrative that can easily be understood by honest adults.
To me the main crux of the story line is the reexamination of both Jake and Mia in how they want to finish out the rest of their lives. Jake and Mia seem to reach different conclusions based on their time spent away from each other.
I found Pretty Much True…a fascinating book .A definite psychological analysis of what separation brought about by war can ignite in loved ones, friendships, communities, and dissenters (right and wrong).
Tsetsi’s book is highly recommended., and for readers who are writers, this book can be a learning tool. It clearly demonstrates how to incorporate rich dialog into a story line. Tsetsi is a master storyteller. Personally I can’t wait for her next book!