by David Abrams
4.0 24

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Fobbit by David Abrams

Fobbit \’fä-bit\, noun. Definition: A U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base, esp. during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011). Pejorative.

In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield – where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like an office job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.

Darkly humorous and based on the author's own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802194084
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 28,542
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

David Abrams, a U.S. Army veteran, is the author of Fobbit, which was a 2012 New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. His stories have appeared in Esquire, Glimmer Train, Narrative, and other publications. He lives in Butte, Montana.

David Drummond has narrated over seventy audiobooks for Tantor, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, from fantasy to military, and from thrillers to humor. He has garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as an Audie Award nomination. Visit him at

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Fobbit 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a senior citizen, a woman, a Quaker and a pacifist…not someone likely to read a book about war. Regardless, I picked up Fobbit by David Abrams and was sucked into the good, bad and the ridiculous in Iraq. This novel is not an analysis of how, why and what is happening from an academic perspective. It gives no history at all. What is does do is take you into the minds and angsts of the fears and folly experienced by a select few of the fictitious service men and women serving our country overseas. Despite the illusion and media portrayal of the brave and dedicated soldiers, you see, instead, the men and women who just want to get out of the whole ordeal alive and come home: men and women who wake up in the morning riddled with anxiety attacks and suffering from migraines and stomach cramps much of the day. I was struck by the ingenious way that Abrams could turn this tragedy into a paradigm shift again and again, i.e. the NFL game playing on the big screen TV while soldiers outside the bob wire fence are trying to defuse a bomb wired to a truck; the pure terror that is wrenching the soldier sent to see if a terrorists who has his fingers on an explosive device is still alive while local inhabitants crowd around the scene and CNN and NBC are taping the entire event live. His example of e-mails exchanged in an attempt to differentiate between the use of the words insurgents or terrorists in press releases makes you swing from laughter to tears. Abrams has written a book about the war in possibly the only manner you can get the majority of Americans who can’t locate Iraq on a world map to stop and read more. The news media presents the same sterile reports night after night. Abrams offers us a glimpse, quite possibly the most honest one we’ll ever get, into what’s happening in the lives of our service men and women caught in this nightmare.
Rob_Ballister More than 1 year ago
David Abrams' FOBBIT is a pointedly funny, witty, over-the-top sarcastic look at life at war without really being IN the war. A "fobbit" is a US Army slang for a soldier stationed at a forward operating base, or "FOB," who avoids combat at all costs by remaining on the base at all times. Vietnam vets will closely associate the term with "REMF." Abrams' tale is of several such fobbits who's tours overlap and interconnect, although each is living his or her own life and trying to survive the deployment in their own way. The author is a career soldier, and uses his experience to paint ridiculous stereotypes of different kinds of soldiers, including infantry types like LtCol Duret and tough-as-nails Sgt Lumley, PAO NCO Staff Seargeant Gooding, and the hapless ne'er-do-well CAPT Shrinkle (also infantry). There also a bull-headed chief of staff, an overweight public affairs officer, and a commanding general who does nothing but clip his toenails. Abrams uses his considerable talents to paint a story for each that takes advantage of each character's particular flaws in order to poke fun at fobbits, war, and the Army in general. The result is a highly entertaining story that moves well and has more than a few smiles as well as one or two laugh out loud moments. Veterans of any war will appreciate the humor, especially if they served on the ground in some capacity.
TheHarpoonist More than 1 year ago
David Abrams is a magician. With one hand, he's teasing, making ruthless fun of the characters in his book. For readers, the types he sends up may be new: the public affairs officer with a perpetual nosebleed, the company commander with stockpiled baby wipes from charity care packages, the press release writer who's got a template for everything from heroics to disaster. Abrams defines a new ridiculousness, a new absurd to go with a high tech war against a low tech enemy. Readers will find it funny. But they will have a hard time laughing, because I believe they will also find it sad. Because while one hand is creating this clever farce, the other hand delivers a fair and accurate context for these farcical people. In giving us a glimpse of what this war was really like: the horror of uncertainty, the misery of separation, the impossibility of "the truth" -- Abrams makes it impossible not to like his characters, not to feel complete sympathy for them, so that the more they are cartoons, the more pathos they engender in the reader. My sadness was real. If this is comedy, then it is comedy in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh, or the Coen Brothers. Comedy you have to own as true and therefore can't dismiss. Come to Abrams' show, and fondly chuckle at the acts he sends out. But don't be surprised when you find yourself on the edge of your seat, halfway through, having inadvertantly grown fond of the buffoons, and urgently fearing for their safety. Fobbit is a nail-biter disguised as a cartoon, a wrenching portrait disguised as a caricature, a brilliant point between cold criticism and warm sentiment -- a war novel everyone should be reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
December 28, 2012, and I can finally answer the question "what was my favorite read this year?" In the eleventh hour, between Christmas and a new year, Fobbit took the lead. I personally found it to be hilariously heartbreakingly honest. So honest that " just get them home...just get them home...just get them home" is what repeats in MY own head stateside.
julielayne More than 1 year ago
After reading an advance review copy from NetGalley, I can vouch that David Abrams has indeed pulled off a remarkable blend of comedy and tragedy in this first novel, as the incredible press this book is receiving has said again and again. It's a story that will have you awkwardly scratching your head, covering your mouth to hide your inappropriate laughter, and wiping away an errant tear when you read the final, completely unexpected scenes. Characters you'll never imagine you'll understand or cheer for when you first begin to read steal into your subconscious and assert themselves as real and sympathetic, even in the cartoon-like world FOBBIT seems to inhabit. An important novel for all of us, no matter our persuasions about war in the current political climate.
Mindy97 More than 1 year ago
FOBBIT by David Abrams is a fantastic masculine satire set during Operation Iraqi Freedom. For those of you who don't know, a Fobbit is a U.S. soldier stationed at a Forward Operating Base who avoids combat by remaining at the base. Each chapter sets you solidly in the boots of different soldiers and their perceptions of one another as they move through the sand-covered world of Iraq, with mortars flying overhead and situations so ridiculous they're only eclipsed by the fumbling efforts to control the public perception of them. It's CATCH-22 for our generation, and I won't be the first person to make that comparison. Granted, there's a sly aside in FOBBIT where one of the narrators is reading Heller poolside, but it's a deserved nod and organic to the situation. I had Heller on my mind while reading FOBBIT for sure, but Chuck Palahniuk as well (another great genre-buster to read, b/c hey - none of us write like him). The writing is masculine and gorgeous at the same time, gut-wrenching and mind numbing. Abrams captures the ridiculous and makes the reader want to put their head in their hands right along with his characters.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Satirical and sarcastic, Fobbit was one of the best books about the mess in the Middle East I have ever read. The characters are so true and so flawed, everybody has met at least one person just like them in their lives, if they have ever ventured outside their front door. Despite the overtone of frustrated humor, Fobbit never lets you forget the real tragedy of a war that is costing way too many lives.
Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
It took almost twenty years for the great World War Two books to start to appear; the same can be said for Vietnam books (to the extent that the books were set in Vietnam and not simply about the war, a la Catch-22). That means we can look forward to the first great Iraq War book in about ten years. In the meantime, we have David Abrams’ Fobbit. Fobbit was for me an exercise in mixed feelings. Abrams nails the atmosphere, the places, the everyday life during a rear-area deployment in the Sandbox. I was briefly a fobbit-like creature in Qatar, which makes a cameo appearance partway through the book (the Topoff’s moved since you were there, Dave); I attended those meetings, I edited those PowerPoint slides, I read those SIGACTs, I sat in those operations centers with football or NASCAR on the big screen on Sundays. The rhythms of shifts in a windowless box, the inanities of staff work, the theme menus at the DFAC, the dusty little PX – been there, done that. All that part is spot-on. However, some of the main caricatures (not a typo) pushed me out of the story. Fobbit has been compared to Catch-22, but the reason the latter has endured as one of the classic antiwar novels is that its characters, while tweaked, are essentially recognizable humans while the war and the system it engenders are the villains. Abrams, however, stocks his work with several major characters so grotesque that they can exist only as punching bags. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen an obese slob in uniform, far less an obese senior officer; I have to hope an infantry officer as spectacularly incompetent as Captain Shrinkle would’ve been weeded out before he pinned on his railroad tracks. Even the more solid characters – PR drudge SSG Gooding and battalion commander LTC Duret come to mind – fall into repetition of the qualities that make them types rather than humans. Ironically, Abrams’ secondary characters are more human and more believable than some of the major ones. God knows there’s plenty to lampoon about our Iraq and Afghan misadventures. The constantly stirring spaghetti bowl that is HQ organization, the primacy of PowerPoint, the transplanted pieces of home that make the theater even more unreal, the ridiculous attempts by senior leadership to impose chaste wholesomeness on young men and women trained to be aggressive and physical, the drumbeat of the deployment calendar – these are the latest wrinkles on the human enterprise of war and make for great literary furniture. Fobbit touches on all of these, and more. But where Fobbit falls short – and what keeps us going back to Catch-22 and M*A*S*H and so on – is the story of how relatively normal people react to the stresses and absurdities of war. This is almost there, but it tries too hard and too many of its shots hit in the white. Maybe in ten years we’ll get the Great Iraq War Book. Until then, you can give Fobbit a try. The self-satirizing world in which it’s set is as good a depiction as you’ll get, but keep a grain of salt or two for the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great, just great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BarbaraClaypoleWhite More than 1 year ago
There are so many layers of fabulous to this novel. I fell in love with the writing, the characters, and the gloriously un-pc humor. None of my emotional reactions were predictable, and I love that as a reader. In the early chapters, I cried with laughter many times, but as the characters evolved, I entered a darker mindset. My heart even raced with fear on the last page. I loved that Abrams made me laugh and made me care. Honestly? I struggle with anything that touches on war and violence, but this novel was pitch perfect. It captured the absurd and the tragic and even touched on fate. As Richard Belmouth would say, "Bloody brilliant."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Margie_Reads More than 1 year ago
The book is a fictional portrayal of real life experiences. Well written. As a civilian defense contractor, I read military fiction and nonfiction to gain better perspective on my work environment, and this alternate spin was worth reading. Yes, it's fiction and yes, it likely isn't a fair depiction of all deployed fobbits, but still, it brings home tedious routines and soldiers' loss of physical, mental, and situational control. "Yesterday's weird is tomorrows reason why." (H. S. Thompson)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book partly based on a review which said “A modern day MASH.” In hindsight, I can see why someone might write that, but it has none of what made MASH great. The premise is the term FOBBIT, used to describe those who serve in the military but never see combat, or want to. A cohesive story is non-existent until the last few chapters, and all but one chapter is entertaining. The rest seem to be copies of each – like Groundhog Day, over and over. A plethora of obscenities, a handful of military acronyms that you forget the meanings to, and the death of a US serviceman and/or “Hadjis”. On about four occasions I considered chucking it and going to something else, but felt both a need to see it through and give the book a chance. Much like leaving a game early, the losing team can come back. This book never really did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We need to know the true happeness and not the lies we are told be the lying press.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marcille More than 1 year ago
In FOBBIT, David Abrams manages to juxtapose irreverence and respect, humor and horror, and fact and fiction. It is a gripping story that pulled me in to the darkness of war. Even as sidelined as the characters were for the most part, the danger felt real, immediate, and threatening. A brilliant book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crappy story with little to no humor. Baseless story line that never went anywhere but down. I would not recommend to anyone unless you want to be bored and waste your money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book over a month ago and never received it. When I called Barnes and Noble, they informed that it had been damaged in shipping. They never bothered to email or call me. So they said they ship me another one. Which as of today I have not received. Bottom line: TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!