Green and Dying: Women Marines 1961-64
Outskirts Press (2018)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (9/18)
In “Green and Dying,” we follow author Kat Sinclair, as a young naïve recent high school graduate who believes that upon graduation her world will change as will her small town. Sadly, she finds nothing has changed; she has no direction and much to the dismay of her ex-Marine father she decides to join the Marines. Even though the Navy Psychiatrist told her parents she was emotionally too young to make it in the Marines, Kat forged ahead.
Having worked for the Army at an induction center for recruits, Sinclair’s story brings back many memories of recruits I met and secretly thought, “They will never make it.” So many came into the service for a variety of reasons: go to jail or join the service; to get away from small towns or a desire to see the world. Like Kat, many were stunned at their new life and realized they didn’t know anything about the real world.
I had to laugh at how naïve Kat was when it came to men, sex and different lifestyles. When she was at Parris Island, SC she found a “boy” in the head, who in reality was a lesbian. Sinclair certainly captured the military lifestyle in her description of the barracks, drill sergeants and lack of fitting uniforms. Sinclair's narrative of her sex lessons on Sunday afternoons by other recruits had me rolling on the floor.
Returning home Kat finds that her town has not changed, it is she who has changed. Living off unemployment she finds a job at the local newspaper. Although her job as a reporter was looking up, she still kept in contact with several of her Marine friends, many of which went to Vietnam. One such friend was Larry; the officer-candidate-reject who was funny, upbeat and one of her closest mentors. Even until the end, Larry kept his sense of humor, and support for Kat.
“Green and Dying” by Kat Sinclair is a compassionate coming of age story that is captivating, and readers will find they can’t put it down. One of the things I liked best is that it covers topics that we all have mused over in our life. I highly recommend “Green and Dying” if you want to learn about true friendship, loss, and life in general.