Purple Heart

Book review by Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Purple Heart Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Powerful, heartbreaking tale of young soldiers in Iraq.

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+

Based on 2 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 18+

15 F-Words is hardly "Sparing use of Profanity"

This is a well written story.. for the R-Rated over 17 crowd. It has graphic violence, body bags, blood, and child victims--including a car bomb exploding in a crowded marketplace with 3 little kids in the back. If a movie had 2 F-words it would be R.. this has 15 and about 40 other uses of profanity. The author throws in one other word that if Googled would provide pages of pornographic references, and this book was offered to my 12 year old 7th grader for Language Arts class. The review was helpful to me in calling it to the attention of the school principal, but when I read it myself, I was disappointed at how mild the review was when classifying the #!--Books should be held to the same standards as movies, music and video games, since reading profanities and obscenities is as harmful as hearing them. The author also portrays underage characters drinking alcohol in a war zone, which is in violation of General Article 1--and against the law. If the book was a video game, it would be rated M for Mature as the violence is realistic and extreme (death is extreme, right?) as well as persistant (the death of the 10 year old orphan is replayed throughout the book). There is also recreational trading of prescription painkillers by one of the soldiers who accidentally killed his sergeant. This book is not for children.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 16+

Not appropriate for teens under about 16 or 17.

My son checked this book out because of the title. From the title, I surmised it was a book of honor, courage and heros. Full disclosure, my husband is an active duty soldier. The "f" word appears within the first 10 pages. I was surprised that the reviewer doesn't have a problem with the fact that the soldier in the bed beside Matt in Baghdad offers him cigarettes in exchange for some of his medicine - percoset, etc. There are several ethics issues that this book raises - for example, the Colonel investigating the incident suggests that he (Matt) isn't a reliable witness because of his TBI and therefore "gave" him the official story. My main issue with the book is that the author has an agenda - she has participated in protests with the Veterans against The Iraq War. In my personal opinion,the issues raised in this book require a pretty sophisticated world view to assess the ethical issues raised. Esspecially if your tween/teen is a military child, some of the issues raised need to be approached carefully.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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