Shoshana, April 16, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Though not well-written, Born on the Fourth of July is still worth reading. The best aspect of the memoir is Kovic's struggle between his patriotism and his indignation. Kovic's patriotic feelings are expressed in the language of treacly 1950's stereotypes, which may express how he actually formulated it, or his wholesale and uncritical swallowing of a widespread fantasy of the American Dream, or poor retrospective description. It remains the case, no matter which is true, that Kovic's disillusionment, despair, and anger are intimately related to the betrayal of a cultural promise in which he (as well as many others) deeply believed.
Some reviewers fault Kovics for his repeated discussions of his injury-related impotence. It's hard for me to imagine that a 21 year old who lost his sexual functioning wouldn't ruminate over this; in fact, given his angry outbursts about this, it's surprising how coy he is about the character of his later romantic relationships.
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