Obligation – Donald Stilwell

READ              14  – 17 February 2012

MY RATING  4 / 5

FORMAT        Kindle


Obligation was reviewed for and on behalf of The Kindle Book Review

Obligation, is a really interesting and powerful story. On the surface, it should be a good read, and nothing more, but actually it digs deep into the soul, and brings to the fore the humanity and honour that resides within us all.

It is clear to anyone reading this book, and confirmed when reading the ‘thank you’ at the end and Stilwell’s biog that this book is written by someone who has experienced some of the things the books covers. The detail with which he describes the Marine training, the golf training and the rifle work is sublime.

The book follows the life of Kevin Anderson, and is split into three main parts. There is Kevin’s early life, following the loss of his parents and the sad death of his brother and the subsequent life with his ‘Pops.  – It was clear to me that Matty was autistic, and the way that Stilwell describes the care of Kevin towards his brother is incredibly touching. The book then moves on to Kevin’s life as a Marine, before following his life after he leaves the Marines and becomes part of ‘society’.

There were points in this books that I actually cried – and if you follow my twitter feed (@MsSBurns) then you’ll have seen I had to stop reading as I was a blubbering mess on the train to work one morning! I was taken completely by surprise by this – I hadn’t expected the book and it’s characters to reach me in this way. I very rarely cry when reading and I shouldn’t have been able to connect with these characters on such a deep and emotional level. But I did, which is testament to the expert way this story is told.

I liked the switch from first to third person – a technique that Stilwell employed to brilliant effect. I think it helps readers to dig deeper into Kevin’s mindset at this point. For me, he had to refer to himself in this manner; Kevin had to believe he was trained and ‘hard wired’ to perform the tasks he was being asked to.

What this story does is teaches the reader about compassion. Despite being on the surface a trained killer – Kevin is the ultimate in compassion, and a tortured soul, trying to reconcile what he has done.

I loved how the story came full circle – I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to spoil the story, but Kevin learns a lot from Pops, and I really enjoyed seeing that relationship and role come full circle.

I hope some film makers are reading this book – I could see this being turned into a superb film at some point in the future – it has the potential to be a beautifully moving film.



Like this review? Please feel free to post a comment below.  Why not pop over to Amazon and buy the book? US here and UK here. You can follow Donald on twitter – @DonaldStilwell1


Filed under 4 Star, Book Review, Kindle Book review

7 responses to “Obligation – Donald Stilwell

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  4. fuonlyknew

    What a wonderful review Sarah! At first glance I would not read this book, but after your review it is going on my TBR List. I look forward to reading this and more more by Donald Stilwell. Great Job! Thanks.

    • Thanks Laura, it’s lovely to get feedback from people. I have to admit that when I got the request to review this one, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. In my review I think I said I shouldn’t have been able to connect with these characters – what I meant is that they’re just not the ‘people’ I’d usually be able to connet to; but at just 25% into the book I was crying! I really hope you enjoy it; let me know how you get on

  5. Dear Mrs. Burns,

    I am both humbled and honored by your review. Thank you for everything, especially the care and time you took crafting this review. You are awesome at what you do, and I appreciate it beyond words…


    • Thanks you, Donald. It’s nice to get feedback on my reviews, and I love the interaction with authors – another brilliant bonus of the indie market!
      Good luck with the next books 🙂

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