The War Blog - Book Review

The War Blog

Author: Glen Sobey
Genre: Young Adult - General
Date Published: December 2, 2018
ISBN-10: 1684331471
ISBN-13: 9781684331475

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Book Review of :  The War Blog


The War Blog written by Glen Sobey is a story about a 17-year-old Crystal M. Rose who starts a movement that speaks out about rape, sexual abuse, and drug addiction. The story takes place in a small community which is depicted as an Alaskan Sodom and Gomorrah. The protagonist, Crystal, is the daughter of two drug addicts, who named her after their favorite drug, Crystal Meth.  Her parents named her younger brother JD after their favorite alcoholic beverage, Jack Daniels. The story introduces Crystal as a young woman who has just been accepted by her high school peers as a talented singer and songwriter. Her songs speak out about misogyny, objectification of girls, drug use and rape.

Crystal as a very young girl was brought up in a terrible environment by a drug-addicted father who was said to have perished in a fiery car accident along with her equally drug-addicted mother. She was then taken in by her grandparents who took care of her and her brother in a very peaceful home in Anders Fork, Alaska. Life was going relatively well for Crystal and her brother JD when suddenly she discovers that her father had risen from the dead and was seeking to visit her after over a decade of absence. So was his years of free room and board courtesy of the Alaska Department of Corrections a result of him being responsible for the death of her mother?  The shock of his return prompts a startling revelation about her mother; a dark family secret.  Crystal discovers her mother had been raped at a very young age and that was perhaps the catalyst to her drug issues and inability to be a responsible, loving mother.  This revelation spirits Crystal into forming a group at her high school that will attempt to make a change in the malaise that she feels grips her community. Rape and sexual abuse are rampant in her town. In fact, Sobey’s novel touches on a real problem that Alaskans face; Alaska has the highest rape rate in the nation. The 2017 Alaska’s rate of forcible rape cases was 117 per 100,000 residence compared to 17 per 100,000 in New Jersey. Oddly enough Native Alaskans make up 61% of rape victims in the state which has to be a low number because Native Alaskans are the least likely to report sexual assaults. Between 2012 and 2017 there was a 45% increase in reported forcible rapes.

Crystal writes songs that address the issues. They are great songs, and Glen Sobey includes their lyrics in the novel and even has the songs professionally performed on the book’s website.  They are impressive both in their emotional depth and in the clarity of their message.  You must hear the songs when you read the book.

The novel has a number of very dark moments, an attempted rape, burning down a house, attempted murder and more.  Crystal is faced with some horrendous bullying at her school and tremendous peer pressure to let it all go and do drugs and be sexually free.  She also has to learn to trust and understand others who sometimes use lies to prevent the pain that truth would cause. You get to witness a whale being harvested and learn what muktuk is. The novel is a window into the cultural uniqueness of a small Alaskan town.

Glen Sobey has written a great social commentary of the problems the youth of today face where drugs and confusing sexual messaging are hurled at them constantly.  If you are a teen or a parent of a teen, this is a book you will find enlightening.

Reviewed by: David H.

About Glen Sobey


Glen Sobey taught and lived in Alaska Native villages for many years and continues to live in rural Alaska with his wife, three dogs, and a forest cat. He plays several musical instruments, hikes, kayaks, catches fish (sometimes), builds things, repairs more things, gardens, shovels lots of snow, splits too much wood, enjoys his family, and writes as often as he can. Though he has written many musicals and songs, The War Blog is his first novel.

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