ARC (Advance Reading Copy). To be published October 9, 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 265 pp.
In this teen adaptation of Greitens’ memoir “The Heart and the Fist,” he writes to readers in matter-of-fact, easy to understand language, speaking of volunteerism and goal setting in short, detailed chapters. He also includes photographs, a heart-to-heart discussion titled “Your Mission,” and a “Notes” section.
Readers learn about his college days in China, Rwanda, Zaire and Bosnia, where he taught English and helped refugees and orphaned children. Helping those less fortunate, and wanting to make a difference, led to his becoming a Navy SEAL. As he took readers through grueling SEAL workouts, along with humorous escapades throughout his life and his time in Iraq, Greitens showed the importance of working hard to achieve goals.
With community service projects a major part of student’s lives, Greiten’s approach to volunteering, and the lessons learned by looking past your own troubles, are very timely. Also, since he loved adventure books where readers had to choose a path before being allowed to continue, Eric made sure to include these types of paths in “The Warrior’s Heart.” Every few chapters he includes a short scenario of an adventure he actually lived through, along with a couple of different choices, and asks readers “What do you do? In the next few chapters, he explained the adventure or situation in detail along with the decision he had chosen to do. This type of narrative involves the reader in the outcomes, and leads to more engagement in the text. Teen readers, especially boys ages 12 and up, will love it.
Greiten makes a strong case for the importance of looking past your own life to help others, which makes “The Warrior’s Heart” an important work to have in all middle, high and public school libraries.