This is the true story about a coat, the author (Les) and his father (Ken). Les discovered the coat in the attic when he was 6. Even then, he was drawn to it. By the 9th grade, Les was wearing it to and from school until he grew too big to fit into it. This Navy pea coat became a touchstone for Les, who delved into family history.
Ken’s father (Earl) was a dairy farmer and, Ken felt his job choices were limited since he lacked a high school education. He joined the Navy and made it through WWII. Les retells his father’s tales of his time in the military, both the good and the bad. It’s a refreshing look at WWII times without being overly dramatic or glorifying the cost of the war in body counts.
Ken met Les’s mother while on leave but they didn’t tie the knot until near the end of the war. Les grew up in a three-generation household, and his strong sense of family ties comes through clearly in this story. The women are mentioned in passing in this tale (and, of course, I would have liked to know a bit more about them) but this is, after all, primarily a tale about Les and his father and the sharing of family history.
I enjoyed this short non-fiction work. It felt like a touching story instead of dry, dusty history being told in a monotone voice. Both Les and Ken exhibit feelings through out the retelling of war tales. The pea coat is now part of a museum and that seems a very fitting end for it.
I received a copy of this book from the narrator at no cost (via theGoodReads Audiobooks Group) in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Gary Mason did a pretty good job. While the narrative didn’t call for many character voices, Mason used a story-teller voice to full effect. When Les or Ken exhibited emotion, Mason did a good job of getting those emotions across to the listener. My one criticism is that the production sounds a little tinny. It is consistent throughout, so after a few minutes it is easy to tune out.