Formation
Cheryl Strayed's Wild meets Anthony Swofford's Jarhead in this powerful literary memoir of a young Army recruit 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.

Formation Details

TitleFormation
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherGrand Central Publishing
ISBN-139781538731536
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Feminism, War, Womens

Formation Review

  • Cassandra Paine
    January 1, 1970
    Without giving it away, this book is a journey. A journey some may recognize as one like their own, while others may find it somewhat foreign yet still relatable. You don't have to be military to appreciate this tale. She does a great job breaking down the nuance that might otherwise go over the civilian head. And the heart of her story is not just about "an incident," but about a life. A life formed by many experiences: many people, many places, and many moments of fear, doubt, confidence, expe Without giving it away, this book is a journey. A journey some may recognize as one like their own, while others may find it somewhat foreign yet still relatable. You don't have to be military to appreciate this tale. She does a great job breaking down the nuance that might otherwise go over the civilian head. And the heart of her story is not just about "an incident," but about a life. A life formed by many experiences: many people, many places, and many moments of fear, doubt, confidence, expectation, rage, love, hate, and acceptance. Like all stories, hers is not yet finished, but like all stories, hers is worth reading. Worth knowing. Not all of us are brave enough to put them onto paper, to share them with strangers, open to judgement and criticism from people we don't know. Let her words inspire you, her told adventures enable you--to be a vehicle to help you to maybe share your own insecurity, vulnerability, and strength with the world. All stories are worth knowing. Including hers. And yours. And maybe mine...
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    You don't want to miss it...this is the memoir that will make a huge impact for it gives voice to female veterans and servicewomen.
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book in 2 days, living in Ryan's skin, not breathing very well when she couldn't. It's an amazing book, and makes you re-think what you think you know about those first tours in Iraq, PTSD, depression, the simple fact of being female, and how one claws back from trauma. I'm so glad that I saw Aimee Mann's recommendation on Instagram, because I might not have found it otherwise. What an amazing woman, and what an amazing piece of writing.
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  • Patricia O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    Stunning. Inspiring. Raw. Real. Read this book. I received an early copy of Formation and could not put it down. This is a story that needs to be shared. A sharp, honest account of one woman's experiences. She's not a victim or a martyr but a real woman living a real and raw life. The courage and self-reflection it takes to bring this story to the world is awesome. The writing is superb, and draws the reader in to feel and process experiences with the author. It's truth, painful and beautiful. I Stunning. Inspiring. Raw. Real. Read this book. I received an early copy of Formation and could not put it down. This is a story that needs to be shared. A sharp, honest account of one woman's experiences. She's not a victim or a martyr but a real woman living a real and raw life. The courage and self-reflection it takes to bring this story to the world is awesome. The writing is superb, and draws the reader in to feel and process experiences with the author. It's truth, painful and beautiful. I've got preorders in for family and friends. It's my first time sharing books like this - it is THAT good.
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  • Kelley
    January 1, 1970
    (As a retired Army Senior Noncommisioned Officer and OIF Veteran, I celebrate and honor the warrior who is Ryan. And yes... PTSD is a m----er f----er!)In her book, "Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line," author Ryan Leigh Dostie narrates her personal experiences as a soldier in combat–at work and at home–engaged in a battle to survive not only war, but the most personal betrayal imaginable, rape by another soldier. This autobiographical recounting of, and accounting for a female s (As a retired Army Senior Noncommisioned Officer and OIF Veteran, I celebrate and honor the warrior who is Ryan. And yes... PTSD is a m----er f----er!)In her book, "Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line," author Ryan Leigh Dostie narrates her personal experiences as a soldier in combat–at work and at home–engaged in a battle to survive not only war, but the most personal betrayal imaginable, rape by another soldier. This autobiographical recounting of, and accounting for a female soldier’s time in the Army, is a warrior’s story of institutional assimilation, indoctrination, alienation, and transformation. Humans tell stories, and stories can comprise narratives about our lives, carrying themes over periods of time. Narratives help us make sense of our world, often structuring meaning in ways that reflect a culture. We survive through the sharing of our stories as they not only serve to communicate culture, but also enable us to speak truth to power. Some narratives can withstand the test of time; they are almost unassailable as accepted truths (i.e., women do not belong in combat, she was drunk, she wanted it, she didn't say no, women are treated equitably in the Army). For narratives that persist in certain contexts (the military) resistance is only possible through counter-stories, giving a voice to the silenced. As an institution, the military insists upon uniformity, cohesiveness, fidelity, and adherence to its rules of conduct. However, these institutional narratives often subsume the voices of women as a marginalized population. Likewise, those suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have frequently been silenced through military narratives not conducive to being a “trauma victim,” (suck it up, power through it, tough it out, be resilient). As survivors of the physical, psychological, and emotional wounds inflicted during combat, military sexual trauma (MST) survivors suffer double exposure. Dostie’s account is both tragic and epic. Analyzing her story through a critical feminist lens situates it as “an equal opportunity to participate, to criticize, to express personal aims and attitudes, and to perform these acts without regard to power or ideology” (Walter Fisher, 1985). Dostie’s autobiographical book works rhetorically as an oppositional narrative or counter-story to the dominant narratives of military culture, especially those located inside the frames of war, trauma, and what comes after. Though Dostie's writing may have been aimed toward catharsis, it is a also an adept critique of the hegemonic masculinity inherent in the Army. Women move about as if unrecognized, and are relegated to 'passing'. They endure violence and harassment in silence. For many who do choose to pursue justice–as Dostie does–the system utterly fails them. For women to be heard in relation to justice, authoring a personal story may be their only recourse, as it subverts canonical narratives while providing empowerment–in effect, it becomes a form of justice. Ryan Dostie’s masterful–gritty and gutsy–vignettes challenge military narratives of equality opportunity and fair treatment of women. For female veterans, until MST, or more pointedly, military rape is adequately addressed by more responsive military legal action, oppositional narratives may be her only means of achieving a semblance of justice and addressing unseen wounds. Being an audience for autobiographical accounts of women in service may give us a glimpse into lives that are pushing back in a daily struggle. As veterans, when we share stories and construct new meanings, we are at a site of resistance. When we write we are also at a site of healing. We share from the depths of our souls and write the breadth of our dreams, forging something meaningful from the ashes of our grief and pain. We are transformed from victims to survivors; pawns to warriors.
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  • Anne S
    January 1, 1970
    This book caught my attention, grabbed my attention and kept it through the entire book!This is the story about a young woman who joined the Army to become a Japanese Linguist, only to be told she was going to be learning Persian Farsi. For those of you who don't know, the Army will promise you lots but "the needs of the Army come first" and where you end up, you end up!She gets to Ft Sill, Oklahoma and ends up getting raped by a fellow soldier, only to be told by her higher command, it didn't h This book caught my attention, grabbed my attention and kept it through the entire book!This is the story about a young woman who joined the Army to become a Japanese Linguist, only to be told she was going to be learning Persian Farsi. For those of you who don't know, the Army will promise you lots but "the needs of the Army come first" and where you end up, you end up!She gets to Ft Sill, Oklahoma and ends up getting raped by a fellow soldier, only to be told by her higher command, it didn't happen. It was her fault. "You don't ruin to a guy's career do you?" You don't ask like someone who has been raped! What the F--? is that supposed to mean.She holds on and continues on to finish out her time in the Army by going over to Iraq right after 9/11/01. She goes and does her duty in spite of not being believed, being the butt of the jokes, and being a woman in a mostly male cadre.This book is amazing because she is able to tell us what she went through, how the Army hid her rape and tried to say it didn't happen and what that incident did to her, both while she was in the Army and once she was out.This book should be required reading of everyone in the military service and shows us why rapes should be taken outside the chain of command so that deviants can be held accountable for their crimes.One thing (in the middle of the book) that I appreciated is that the women were supposed to wear their overshirts when they went to take showers or pee because they might excite the men if they just wore their tshirts! The men, on the other hand, were able to walk around in the compound with just their tshirts. That is, until a woman who had rank over their ranking captain told the men they also had to wear their overshirts to go pee and use the showers if the women did. It didn't take very much time until they (all the soldiers both men and women) were able to walk around camp in their tshirts!Thank you Ryan for showing us your spirit and rising above it. You are truly an inspiration. Keep on writing!
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  • Dave Wolfe
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I know the author. I don't think I would have read this book otherwise. Put that fact aside. I was not fully aware of what Ryan went though during her time in the military. In discussions with her over the years, I found out she was raped by a fellow soldier; that the army tried to downplay it; and that she has suffered from PTSD. However, all of this was more like a basic outline of her full story. Formation captivated me. That was partially due to my friendship with Ryan. But Full disclosure: I know the author. I don't think I would have read this book otherwise. Put that fact aside. I was not fully aware of what Ryan went though during her time in the military. In discussions with her over the years, I found out she was raped by a fellow soldier; that the army tried to downplay it; and that she has suffered from PTSD. However, all of this was more like a basic outline of her full story. Formation captivated me. That was partially due to my friendship with Ryan. But her story is so much deeper than I ever expected. It is not so much about her as it is how a rape incident is poorly handled by her military leadership. It more than an Iraq war veteran story. It is about how some people, particularly those who are relied upon to help, put the onus on the victim. It is not an easy read. The words are bold. Some may be offended and, as a result. miss key points.I admit that this book made me think. That's always a good sign. For example, for years I've heard debates about the role of women in the military. Can they handle the "toughness"? Can they be "one of the guys"? But what happens when they act similar to their male counterparts?I remember watch M.A.S.H. on TV. Set in during the Korean conflict, there was a somewhat schizophrenic relationship the men had with the women. In many cases, the men treated the women as sex symbols. In one episode, the men planted themselves outside of a makeshift shower that was booby traped to collapse while their female counterparts where showering. Of course, this provided great entertainment to the men despite the embarrassment to the ladies.Without giving away too much, there a somewhat parallel scene in Formation. But how much fun is it when its the scene is reciprocated, just like "one of the guys"?Formation is a very relevant book in today's world. It's value goes well beyond the military. While it is not the finest book I've ever read, it is an extremely memorable one.
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  • Kate Arismendez
    January 1, 1970
    Being a woman stepping into a man’s world is one thing. Being victimized, ignored, lied to by their own leaders is another. In the Army, the chain of command is supposed to mold the young soldiers, teach them to be obedient, teach them to give and receive respect, and teach them to care for one another. They are the surrogate mother and father to the young soldiers after they enlist. Ryan Dostie’s chain of command failed her when she needed them most. When Ryan Dostie was raped by a fellow soldi Being a woman stepping into a man’s world is one thing. Being victimized, ignored, lied to by their own leaders is another. In the Army, the chain of command is supposed to mold the young soldiers, teach them to be obedient, teach them to give and receive respect, and teach them to care for one another. They are the surrogate mother and father to the young soldiers after they enlist. Ryan Dostie’s chain of command failed her when she needed them most. When Ryan Dostie was raped by a fellow soldier and her command did not take her seriously. She didn’t receive support. She was not believed. She was ignored, lied to and told to forget about it.Thank you, Ryan Dostie, for telling your story. You are an inspiration to every woman.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This is a phenomenal memoir of a woman’s experience in the army. It is smart and complicated and well written. From both a literary and personal perspective it’s utterly compelling.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Raw and devastating. Unlike any book I've ever read. I just can't stop thinking about it
  • Kara Harte
    January 1, 1970
    “A few hours before I am raped, two officers in a bar try to corner me and steal my panties.” And with that jarring first line, Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie begins, hitting the ground running. A lyrically written novel that embodies the Hemingway quote, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” Dostie lays bare the deepest depths of herself in this debut memoir. In boldly and candidly telling her truth, Dostie inspires.Formation dives right into the “A few hours before I am raped, two officers in a bar try to corner me and steal my panties.” And with that jarring first line, Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie begins, hitting the ground running. A lyrically written novel that embodies the Hemingway quote, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein,” Dostie lays bare the deepest depths of herself in this debut memoir. In boldly and candidly telling her truth, Dostie inspires.Formation dives right into the trauma that will change Ryan Dostie forever – the night she is betrayed in the worst way by a fellow soldier when he rapes her. The events that transpire after this heinous act of violence shines a blaring spotlight on the culture of toxic masculinity within our own military. And what happens when our women warriors refuse to ‘go gentle.’Raised surrounded by a group of powerful women, Ryan Leigh Dostie was never a girl destined to be a shrinking violet. Taught to embrace her own worth and desires from a young age, unintimidated by barriers that could get in her way, Ryan grows from a wonderfully wild little girl into a brilliant, spunky, adventurous young woman. So it’s no surprise that promises of thrilling endeavors draws Dostie to the army as a linguist. The army turns out to be both wonderful and terrible. And never what she expects.Thrust into a male-dominated establishment unwelcoming to women, Dostie still manages to hold her own in the army with grit and sharp wits. But, after the vicious assault she suffers in her barracks room that night, when Ryan doesn’t adhere to the subliminal rule of ‘shut up and suck it up’ that’s been drilled into her since basic training, the commanders that are there to protect her utterly – and willfully - fail her. Even with a crime scene, with physical evidence, they look this woman in the eyes and tell her they don’t believe her. They cherry pick her statements, selecting snippets that suit their fabricated retelling of the crime. They bully, sneer, blame, and try to humiliate her for speaking up. They protect a rapist. These leaders chosen to be thus because of their valor and great endevours, force a victim to bare the shame of an assailant, shame that never belongs to her. While her attacker walks around albatross-less, she is ostracized like a leper, even though she’s not the one clothed in the boils. It is a second violation.Even when recounting the turbulence, Dostie always seems to find moments of light within the dark to focus on. Instances of kindness and compassion from friends, from family - even a few strangers - are made evermore poignant for their rarity. And as she wages this war for justice, Dostie soon gets sent off to fight in another war, all the way in Iraq.Her battle scars take on the form of PTSD.What follows is Dostie dealing with the aftermath of trauma and war. Can you ever really heal from something from which there is no closure, no justice? Ryan answers this question by showing us. In present-tense, she immerses us in another time. You feel every nuance of emotion as your own. All the rage, disbelief, heartbreak, triumph, resilience - it seeps into your amygdala. Formation is not just sitting down and reading a book. It is leaping into another dimension to stand juxtaposed with Dostie in her shoes.Formation is a story for everyone. Though we all may have different backgrounds and journeys, the human experience is universal. Formation, at its core, is a starkly human journey. Dostie’s writing vividly captures the marrow of what it is to be human. The one truth we all know is that life is both gutting and glorious. We all have faced adversity, we have all been vulnerable to someone we trust, we have felt the burbling of happiness in our bellies, and we have all fought for something that mattered. It is by being utterly real in her humanity that Dostie connects powerfully with readers from all walks of life.The message in Formation is a timely and vital one in the #metoo era. The message is this: you are not alone, and you are never to blame. The way rape victims are treated is not acceptable. There is nothing in this world that justifies sexual assault. And the tradition of victim blaming needs to end. Sexual assault survivors deserve justice, for their voices to be heard. Not omitted. Consequences are for perpetrators, not victims. And the military cannot hide the way sexual assault has been grossly mishandled within its walls forever. It has to stop. We need to be the ones to fight for those changes. To fight for those who have been silenced. I have high hopes that Formation will shake up this world, and help those who have lost their voices find them.Formation is a vindicated fist raised in the air. A rally for change. A self-reclamation, a narrative repossessed. It is a woman whom, even when she feels shattered to bits like Humpty Dumpty, has a lionhearted spirit that burns undimmed, as incandescent as it did when she was a child. A spirit that their barriers never did stop. It is a woman who has been heard. A woman who is believed.Formation is a book whose echoes will linger with you long after you’ve closed the pages.5/5 stars, and HIGHLY recommended. Formation lives up to all the hype, and is well-deserving of its spots at the top of summer reading lists. I look forward to more work from Ryan Leigh Dostie in the future, and foresee a bright career ahead. Now, book and author, go soar and make waves!
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  • Amanda Rogozinski
    January 1, 1970
    I really couldn't put this book down. It contains so many emotions and a clear-eyed honesty that is surprisingly relatable despite the uniqueness of Ryan's experience, and makes you feel like you know the author. I appreciated that it didn't ring of bitterness or anger for wrongs suffered, but had the maturity of perspective. I expected it to be a feminist rant, but instead it probed good questions.
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  • Clare McCarthy
    January 1, 1970
    Think of the best opening line of any novel you've ever read. Go ahead; I'll wait. What is it? Yeah, that's good, but this is better: "A few hours before I am raped, two officers in a bar try to corner me and steal my panties." Right? And this is a memoir, not a novel.Formation is Ryan Dostie's memoir of her time in the Army, which included serving in Iraq, studying to be a linguist, and navigating an institution expressly set up NOT to include women. And it's a story about rape and its conseque Think of the best opening line of any novel you've ever read. Go ahead; I'll wait. What is it? Yeah, that's good, but this is better: "A few hours before I am raped, two officers in a bar try to corner me and steal my panties." Right? And this is a memoir, not a novel.Formation is Ryan Dostie's memoir of her time in the Army, which included serving in Iraq, studying to be a linguist, and navigating an institution expressly set up NOT to include women. And it's a story about rape and its consequent lasting and deep trauma. Time and again Dostie is betrayed by peers and superiors alike. "Suck it up, buttercup," is the glib motto and the measure of her commitment to serve. Dostie chronicles the long-term effects of the event and its aftermath in a raw, brutally candid style. About a particularly phallocephalic officer, she writes, "Rage makes me both dumb and blind, a sort of numbness except it burns all the way through." The building trauma emerges in the field: "The inability to ever see the enemy, to find a single face, makes them a conglomerate - if any one of them shoots at me then they all have, and I'm not going to be their little bitch."This is not an easy read emotionally. It cuts to the core, then continues to uncover new strata beneath that. Do not go into it lightly. But do go into it. The profound corruption and hypocrisy need to be seen for what they are. The purpose of military training since the Greek hoplites has been to obliterate the individual and thus create the fighting unit. But the army fostered an environment that encouraged and then ignored her rape. It shut her out of unit cohesion because it feared the truth. So allow me to redirect Dostie's words against them, "Fuckers. They're no longer human to me. "Read this book and get angry.
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  • Keana Aguila Labra
    January 1, 1970
    Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie is a haunting, raw account of Dostie's rape during her time in the military. Dostie does not mince words nor does she hesitate transitioning into the topic; she dives headfirst into her encounter with her rapist. The events tumble at breakneck speed afterward; some of which were difficult or even impossible to read; I found myself seething with frustration or rage at the apathy of others' actions. Dostie introduces cruel and kind characters: from Andres allowing he Formation by Ryan Leigh Dostie is a haunting, raw account of Dostie's rape during her time in the military. Dostie does not mince words nor does she hesitate transitioning into the topic; she dives headfirst into her encounter with her rapist. The events tumble at breakneck speed afterward; some of which were difficult or even impossible to read; I found myself seething with frustration or rage at the apathy of others' actions. Dostie introduces cruel and kind characters: from Andres allowing her to sleep on the floor of his room contrasted sharply with the disgust from Captain Wells. Following the crime, Dostie describes her interactions not only with her superior officers, but with the attorneys and interrogations and being forced to engage with her rapist on duty. No backgrounds are wasted; they are introduced as it occurred, and nothing more is told. It is a personal preference, but I would have liked to learn more about the dramatis personae and more about Dostie's background outside of her being in the military and her frequently mentioned Christian upbringing. Her logical, concise narrative reflects her disciplined military background; yet, her prose is easily digestible and at times, beautiful and melancholic. I was deeply invested in her case; I ended up finishing the book in a single night.I would recommend this book for anyone who has endured the violence of sexual assault or to anyone who considers themselves an ally to victims. This is especially important following the surge of the "me too" movement and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony against now Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh. Dostie's bravery in sharing her story proves that the actions of these perpetrators will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
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  • Michelle Willms
    January 1, 1970
    Ryan was a risk-taker. She enjoyed adventure and wanted to travel. When the army talked to her about enlisting, she decided it sounded like fun. She'd never really had the easy camaraderie other people seemed to experience throughout school, so she looked forward to truly belonging. The reality was not exactly what she'd imagined. She expected the Army to keep its promise to her - she was going in the Army to study Japanese. She didn't think America would be going to war. Then came 9/11. Of cour Ryan was a risk-taker. She enjoyed adventure and wanted to travel. When the army talked to her about enlisting, she decided it sounded like fun. She'd never really had the easy camaraderie other people seemed to experience throughout school, so she looked forward to truly belonging. The reality was not exactly what she'd imagined. She expected the Army to keep its promise to her - she was going in the Army to study Japanese. She didn't think America would be going to war. Then came 9/11. Of course, there was also the rape and all that the Army didn't do on her behalf.Formation should be read by all women considering joining any branch of the military. It is honest, brutal, and searing. It tells of the truths of war, the devastations of PTSD, as well as the strong sense of fellowship of those in service. The author, though she had some seriously negative experiences, didn't focus only on the bad. She also shared all that she truly loved about her service. Formation was a educational, enlightening, and uplifting book.
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  • EzekielHall
    January 1, 1970
    Ryan Dostie's story is one many women in the military have experienced, and her excellent writing skills and courage to face and name her traumas will, I hope, make more people confront such issues as military sexual trauma, toxic masculinity, imperialism, the utter inhumanity of war, and the failure of the US government to care for its "heroes".Other things her memoir mentions, aside from its main themes, include her unique childhood (from a matriarchal religious cult to studying abroad in a Ja Ryan Dostie's story is one many women in the military have experienced, and her excellent writing skills and courage to face and name her traumas will, I hope, make more people confront such issues as military sexual trauma, toxic masculinity, imperialism, the utter inhumanity of war, and the failure of the US government to care for its "heroes".Other things her memoir mentions, aside from its main themes, include her unique childhood (from a matriarchal religious cult to studying abroad in a Japanese highschool), laser tag using Army equipment, and many language and cultural explorations from her anthropologist-inclined perspective and globe-trotting experience. This is a memoir of a very rich life that was chewed up by a vicious machine, a woman who came out of that maw determined to thrive with all the power and insight that they couldn't take from her. She absolutely deserves the spotlight her work is getting.
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  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    This was a phenomenal book from start to finish. I received a pre-release copy (either from Goodreads or another site--I do not recall.) As often happens with free books, although I hate to admit it, is they get lost on a shelf in my library, unread. I figured the same would occur with this rather lengthy memoir, but after cracking open the first page, I could Not put it down, reading it at every spare moment. "Formation" is a memoir of a woman's army experience. Ryan Dostie's (author) writing i This was a phenomenal book from start to finish. I received a pre-release copy (either from Goodreads or another site--I do not recall.) As often happens with free books, although I hate to admit it, is they get lost on a shelf in my library, unread. I figured the same would occur with this rather lengthy memoir, but after cracking open the first page, I could Not put it down, reading it at every spare moment. "Formation" is a memoir of a woman's army experience. Ryan Dostie's (author) writing is gripping, descriptive, and real. The book Formation brings the reader into the author's world and experience, and helps clarify the patriarchal military perception that a woman must face, and then effectively shows how a person deals with trauma beyond this.
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  • Chelsea Dodds
    January 1, 1970
    Most readers will not have experienced the same things that Ryan Leigh Dostie has experienced and writes about in her memoir--being a woman in the military, a survivor of sexual assault, and living with PTSD. However, there is a lot in Formation that will resonate with readers, even those who typically do not read military literature. Dostie's beautiful prose keeps you right alongside her throughout the entire journey, and the chapters that take place in Iraq show a more historically-rich view o Most readers will not have experienced the same things that Ryan Leigh Dostie has experienced and writes about in her memoir--being a woman in the military, a survivor of sexual assault, and living with PTSD. However, there is a lot in Formation that will resonate with readers, even those who typically do not read military literature. Dostie's beautiful prose keeps you right alongside her throughout the entire journey, and the chapters that take place in Iraq show a more historically-rich view of the country than the typical war-torn depictions of the Middle East. Above all else, Formation is a timely and important book in the wake of the #metoo movement, and Dostie is a necessary voice for women who have served in the United States military. I highly recommend this book.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This is a real and powerful account of violence, gender roles, and religion. It's about choices, other's and our own, and the consequences thereof.Every adjective I try to use seems cliqued and inadequate in comparison to the strength on every page. My life absolutely paused until the last sentence. I read while cooking, I followed through war while doing laundry one-handed, I ignored emails and texts and sleep (yes, even social media) until the very end.Society would have us believe that after This is a real and powerful account of violence, gender roles, and religion. It's about choices, other's and our own, and the consequences thereof.Every adjective I try to use seems cliqued and inadequate in comparison to the strength on every page. My life absolutely paused until the last sentence. I read while cooking, I followed through war while doing laundry one-handed, I ignored emails and texts and sleep (yes, even social media) until the very end.Society would have us believe that after sexual assault, one is either a victim or some vengeful vigilante.I promise you, Ryan Dostie is neither.
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  • Misty Palaia
    January 1, 1970
    Raw, heart wrenching and inspiring. The opening lines are an all too honest mirror of the world woman have inherited. Reading about Ryan’s experiences and the many ways she justified others grotesque behavior as a short coming of her own was gripping and real. The fact that even as she is struggling to move forward with her civilian life she is courageous enough to tell this story is nothing short of hopeful and brave. The writing is beautiful and intelligent. I found the pages turned quickly, e Raw, heart wrenching and inspiring. The opening lines are an all too honest mirror of the world woman have inherited. Reading about Ryan’s experiences and the many ways she justified others grotesque behavior as a short coming of her own was gripping and real. The fact that even as she is struggling to move forward with her civilian life she is courageous enough to tell this story is nothing short of hopeful and brave. The writing is beautiful and intelligent. I found the pages turned quickly, even as I found myself crying I wanted to read on and completed this book quickly.
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  • Csimplot Simplot
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book!!!
  • Beverly
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This is quite a heartbreaking and disturbing memoir. Ryan does a wonderful job of telling about her experience.
  • C. S.
    January 1, 1970
    I can count on the fingers of one hand the nonfiction that has made me cry, and Formation is one of them. Here's the thing. This book is hard to read. It is rough. Not because it's bad, but because it is stunningly, blindingly good. Powerful. So deeply personal it feels intrusive to read it at times. But it tells so many important messages about so many things - rape culture, mental health, fat shaming and fat phobia, the damage that religious purety culture can cause... the general complexity o I can count on the fingers of one hand the nonfiction that has made me cry, and Formation is one of them. Here's the thing. This book is hard to read. It is rough. Not because it's bad, but because it is stunningly, blindingly good. Powerful. So deeply personal it feels intrusive to read it at times. But it tells so many important messages about so many things - rape culture, mental health, fat shaming and fat phobia, the damage that religious purety culture can cause... the general complexity of being a woman or a woman-like human being in this world. Formation touched some of the same nerves as Educated, and I think both titles will take their place in a powerful subgenre of memoir.
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