Book Review – Warflower by Robert Stark

Warflower by Robert Stark

The Amazon link

I read this book both on my eReader and again in paperback. This is an unsolicited review.

The Review:

Robert Stark’s book is the best book I’ve read so far this year. While I don’t typically read autobiographies or biographies in general, I have read quite a number over the years and this one makes a mark on my soul. Being raised not too terribly far from where I did in rural Alaska, I was immediately intrigued. It was a random chance meeting in a small local shop where I met the author face to face and we spent quite a bit of time talking and I was instantly drawn to his story, which was, as it happened, was to release the very next day.

The next morning I purchased the ebook version and read about halfway through, but as I always feel like reading from paper is better, it seemed an injustice to read it on the cold screen. I went out and bought the physical copy. To be honest, I read it in two sittings because I didn’t want to stop reading.

He begins by quickly covering his early life but the main gist covers about five years of his life shortly before joining the military and touring in Iraq in the early 2000’s. Growing up in Alaska myself, I identified with him regarding rural living and rampant alcoholism which is very widespread in the state. His descriptions of Iraq and war were hard. Hard because he’s one of thousands of men (and now women) who have fought in the name of human rights or power struggles or personal freedom or justice. The inner turmoil soldiers deal with on a daily basis is hard to read. Not only during times of war and service but then long after, the memories, horrors, realities, and guilt which inundate daily life, sometimes unexpectedly.

Stark struggles with his emotions, injustice, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, feelings of abandonment and self-worth. Even through all this, he writes in such an approachable way that, even though the subject matter isn’t always the easiest, his kind heart and strength of spirit flow and it feels GOOD to read it. It’s a story which needs to be told and read and remembered. It’s also one I hope he continues.

I come away from the book humbled and with a pride for him. To be able to really dig deep into himself and have that willingness to be vulnerable before us the readers, strangers. To say, in the midst of hard, hard realities, there can still be moments of quiet and beauty. There is still redemption. There is meaning and worth and love… even when it doesn’t look the way we expected or wanted it to look. I appreciate his sharing of seemingly random or chance meetings who he sees one time and never again and yet he can share the impact. It reminds me that small moments can mean so much more than we might ever know. A smile to a stranger. Saying hello. Being present.

My Overall Score:

To say I enjoyed this book is an understatement. I cherished reading this. What an honor to read this story. I give this 5/5 stars. Great writing, perfect length. The cover and title work really well for the story and the interior formatting and added photos were a nice added bonus.

Final Thoughts:

Highly recommended to those who enjoy autobiographical stories, personal war remembrances, or novels about personal tragedy and growth.

Read more book reviews by following my Review Category.

be a good writer: read.
~tara caribou

**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!

I will also, as a side-note, say, it may seem that I am harsh on many writers for their editing, formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. I do so unapologetically. One, because this is a review, not a popularity contest. Two, because honest criticism should help us grow as artists.

The fact of the matter is, these things MATTER. A mathematician must use his tools and use them correctly to be an effective mathematician. A surgeon cannot simply say, “I know I can’t sew the wound closed but at least I could remove the appendix or whatever it’s called.” Same with writers. We can’t claim to be writers but refuse to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We can’t claim to be a photographer just because we know how to push the button on the camera (or phone). There’s an art to it.

So while I may appreciate the artist as a person and their words, I believe that it does us all a disservice to say lower quality editing is okay. Believe in yourself! Believe in the power of your words! Put the effort into being the very best you can be. Ask for help. Grow and learn.

One Comment on “Book Review – Warflower by Robert Stark

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