Book 106: First Blood – David Morrell

Everybody loves a quick read, whether it’s because it’s light or because it’s well written everyone loves one! I would not have gone out of my way to read this book, especially with the cover looking as it does, but my Books into Movies book group chose to read it and here it is. As usual it will be very interesting to hear what book group has to say about the novel and the characters!

Taking place over a span of 3-4 days we follow John Rambo, a former Marine back from Vietnam, and Will Teasle, a veteran of the Korean war, and their battle in Kentucky. The premise makes sense – a soldier with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is picked up for being a vagrant and when pushed around a bit too much he snaps. And the mayhem that follows is what this book is all about.

Overall the story was fast paced and kept me interested. It was definitely more psychological than gruesome and that is probably why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Getting into the minds of Teasle and Rambo was fascinating and the book really is about the evolution of Teasle and his ability to predict (or not) what Rambo will do next. However, looking back I realized while I was reading it this seemed to get a bit sloppy towards the end, but afterwards it definitely showed the overwhelming exhaustion of Teasle and Rambo after their long cat and mouse chase.

For once I have my act together and I’ve read the book and finished the movie before Book Group (Monday night) and am writing my review too! I thought the movie was alright, it wasn’t spectacular and it wasn’t bad. I could appreciate the silence of the film and it only added to Stalone’s ability to portray John Rambo. The cool thing was they kept mentioning Fort Bragg (Fayetteville, NC) which is where I grew up. The uncool thing was they completely changed from the end of the novel and I believe they shifted it from Kentucky out to the West coast. I much preferred the ending of the novel to the film. Other things of note were the contemporary, but hilarious now, acid wash/white wash skin tight jeans and the over-acting action sequence.

Recommendation: I’m glad I read it as Rambo is such a cultural icon and Morrell’s writing surprised me at how easy it was to read. I won’t go out of my way to read any of the other novels in the series, but this one was pretty decent (especially as the end of the novel is pretty finite, but not the film – thus allowing the sequels and further novelization).

Opening Line: “His name was Rambo, and he was just some nothing kid for all anybody knew, standing by the pump of a gas station at the outskirts of Madison, Kentucky.”

Closing Line: “He thought about the kid, and flooded with love for him, and just a second before the empty shell would have completed the arc to the ground, he relaxed, accepted peacefully. And was dead.” (Whited out.)

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3 thoughts on “Book 106: First Blood – David Morrell

    • I didn’t either until book group decided to read it – fascinating right!? And it’s funny about book cover art – they definitely marketed that to a very specific audience.

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