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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
The Unopened Letter: A Dose of Reality Changes a Young Man’s Life Forever by R.W. Herman is a memoir set in the Vietnam War era and how his one decision changed the course of his life forever. The author recalled the days when he turned eighteen and became eligible to be drafted for the Vietnam War. Receiving “the letter” from the U.S. Selective Service System was the final blow to Richard’s dreams of staying far away from the war. However, he was not alone, and he was about to find out that he needed the support of other young men like him if he wanted to survive. Hearing about the war from afar was different, but becoming a part of the Navy was far more thrilling, scary and mindboggling than he ever imagined. Was this the end of the road for Richard? Would he ever be able to get his old life back?
I was blown away by the intensity of the story and how well it was managed by the author. The Unopened Letter was one of the most unique memoirs I had ever read and that made it the most entertaining as well. The narrative was magical. R.W. Herman transported me into his life when he was 18 and how the war shaped him as he grew up. I could feel the change in Richard; I could experience the confusion he went through and how he tried to make the best of what was handed to him. It provided a great first-hand look at the war era and how it affected the lives of these young men. He made relationships and friendships that turned him into a man he could be proud of. Richard was in for a rude awakening, but that shaped him to become a man who was confident in his abilities, understood his limits, and dared to face the worst. It was a brilliant and moving story that had me hooked until the end.