Danielle Trussoni was definitely “Daddy’s Little Girl”. She was named after him, physically resembled him, and adored him. Her parents split up when Danielle was young. While Danielle’s mother kept her other siblings, Danielle chose to live with her father.
The two were very close, and this allowed Danielle to notice that there were some very odd things about her father. Dan was haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. He would tell stories about his experiences over there, and end up lost in thought, oblivious to his surroundings. Danielle simply accepted her father as he was, and basically took care of him until he was “back”. In many ways, she had become the adult in their family.
When she grew up, she was able to sift through her memories from childhood and re-examine them with the eyes of an adult. She remembered pictures her father showed her from when he was in Vietnam. Some were brutal, and frightening. Was the skull she found in the basement real? Why did her father have it?
This memoir is an extremely personal look at how her family was affected by her father’s experiences in Vietnam. The book jumps in chronology, juxtaposing Trussoni’s childhood memories with her adult experiences as she searched for answers about what really happened.
She discovers that her father was once what was called a “Tunnel Rat” in Vietnam, one of the most dangerous and psychologically damaging jobs a soldier could have. After doing a lot of research on Vietnam, and what American soldiers went through in regards to it, Danielle embarks on a trip.
She visits Vietnam herself, and takes a guided tour of the same tunnels that her father crawled through years before. Her experience going into one of these dark, small, dirty tunnels following a tour guide is terrifying and stressful. There is something about being in the dark, underground, in an enclosed space that is unnerving all on it’s own. She can only imagine what her father may have felt as a soldier, who knew that these tunnels held traps, and enemies, both of whom could kill him in an instant.
There are a lot of families who watched loved ones head off to war, and return home as a completely different, and damaged, person. This book focuses on a father who was in Vietnam, however, I am certain that soldiers who have been in other wars come back dramatically different too. I think a lot of people will read this book, and recognize some of the behaviors and patterns seen in Trussoni’s family in their own.
My father was in the military around the time of Vietnam. I haven’t any idea what he may, or may not have experienced, or where, exactly in the world he may have served. However, it is clear that my father is different from many other fathers, and I can see some similarities between how he behaves, and how Trussoni’s father behaved. This is a book that daughters of soldiers will understand.
This book review of Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir – by Danielle Trussoni is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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