Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

by Ryan Leigh Dostie
Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

by Ryan Leigh Dostie


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Named by Esquire as one of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year: Chanel Miller's Know My Name meets Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Anthony Swofford's Jarhead in this powerful literary memoir of a young soldier driven to prove herself in a man's world.

Raised by powerful women in a restrictive, sheltered Christian community in New England, Ryan Dostie never imagined herself on the front lines of a war halfway around the world. But then a conversation with an Army recruiter in her high-school cafeteria changes the course of her life. Hired as a linguist, she quickly has to find a space for herself in the testosterone-filled world of the Army barracks, and has been holding her own until the unthinkable happens: she is raped by a fellow soldier.

Struggling with PTSD and commanders who don't trust her story, Dostie finds herself fighting through the isolation of trauma amid the challenges of an unexpected war. What follows is a riveting story of one woman's extraordinary journey to prove her worth, physically and mentally, in a world where the odds are stacked against her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538731536
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 537,936
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Ryan Leigh Dostie is a novelist turned soldier turned novelist. As an Army Persian-Farsi/Dari Linguist in Military Intelligence, she was deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II (2003-2004). She holds an MFA in fiction writing and a bachelor's degree in History from Southern Connecticut State University. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with her husband, her wondrously wild daughter, and one very large Alaskan Malamute. Formation is her first book.

Table of Contents


How It Happened 10

What They Want 23

Exodus 33

Quarters 39

Classical Conditioning 48

Spoliation of Evidence 52

Shock and Awe 56

The Last Push Before the End 66


In the Beginning 77

Event Horizon 88

Suck It the Fuck Up, Buttercup 95

Cry "Havoc" 109

Redacted 121

Welcome 125

JRTC 132

Consumption 140


Entrenching 153

Indiscriminate 167

Filicide 179

Respite 190

The Way We're Trained 193

Uninspired 204

Ace of Hearts and Clubs 213

What Isn't Mine 217

Rage Against the Machine 229

Monster in a Box 234

The Way We Break 245

Reconstruction 252

Getting Out of Baghdad 257

The Ghosts of Al Kut 263

Two Miles Out 274


Homecoming 279

Your Ending, My Beginning 286

Fight Me, Bitch 289

The Warworn's Battle Cry 294

Just Say the Word 305

Interim 308

Tub thumping 314

Belletristic 318

The Thing in My Vagina 323

Interim II 328

The Bat 331

Dirty Little Whore 335

The Breaking Point 341

Interim III 345

Closing 348

Acknowledgments 355

About the Author 359

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