Hibbard, Howard L. “Curse of the Coloring Book: A Novel Inspired by a True Story”, Ghost Dog Enterprises, 2016. December 20, 2016
Herald Lloyd is an attorney and family man who faces a legal-malpractice lawsuit and this so unnerves him that he begins having Vietnam War flashbacks. He uses alcohol medication and this is not a smart since drinking does not really solve anything. As a young man, he quit college to join the Army. In Vietnam he was a decorated combat platoon leader in commanding of some very strange men. After the war, Hibbard was relieved that he could stop fighting but sees that is not the case with this lawsuit. This is a different kind of war and he must fight to save his client, law practice, and family.
We meet Lloyd when he was a young and naive college student who joined the army and became a combat infantry lieutenant headed for Vietnam. Afterwards, he came hoe and became an attorney but is plagued with memories of the time he spent along the Cambodian border. “Curse of the Coloring Book” is a description of Lloyd’s army experience and trying to forget what he saw. His life after the war, his marriage and law practice have all been influenced by his combat experiences. As bad as there were for him, Lloyd has been able to keep his sharp sense of humor and it seems that he never takes himself too seriously. Yet he is never able to escape his memories of his time in Vietnam. He shares some of these graphic memories and we see how these influence his life as a lawyer and family man. We read his descriptions of fear and friendship and it often feels that we are standing next to him as he vividly describes what he saw. There is nothing glorious about war but one good thing came out of it for Lloyd and that is that he became a leader. But he also has to deal with PTSD and survivor’s guilt.
This is quite an intense read and it is difficult to review the book because of that intensity. There is nothing I can say that can reflect what we read here and it is very important that we understand what some war veterans have to deal wit. Ordinarily this is not the kind of book I would read but because I have deliberately not read anything about PTSD I decided to give it a go and I find that my eyes have opened a great deal wider. As for the title, you will have to read the book to understand that.