Perfectly Wounded: A Memoir About What Happens After a Miracle

Twelve: Grand Central. Jun. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781538701836. $28. MEMOIR
While parts of his story have already been told in the news, former Navy SEAL Day finally shares his own perspective. While on a mission in Iraq, he was shot 27 times and had a grenade blow up right next to him. He was, as the title indicates, perfectly wounded—those rounds that weren’t stopped by his body armor hit him in such a way that none of the wounds were fatal. After his retirement from the Navy, he found other ways to serve: as a case manager for wounded service members, and then as a contract trainer for future SEALs. Day reveals that years of physical and emotional trauma—starting with childhood abuse and continuing as a serviceman—compounded to leave him in a place where he was depressed and considered suicide. He looks at how many types of loss, from injury to losing a job, can strip away a person’s agency. What shines throughout the book is Day’s respect for the people around him, and how important it is to build trust.
VERDICT Day offers an incredibly relatable story that is both open and unflinching in its honesty and self-reflection. Parts of the narrative are utterly gut-wrenching, but those same parts are also what makes this an essential book that is well worth reading.
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