Book Review: Operation Cure Boredom by Dan Martin


Title: Operation Cure Boredom

Author: Dan Martin

Published: 2016

Pages: 333

Genre: Memoir

Format: Print copy mailed by author

My rating: 3/5


Life in the military… as you’ve never read before.
At nineteen, filled with wanderlust and hormones, Dan Martin made the hilariously amazing decision to join the military to travel and meet girls. Three months later, with Desert Storm in full swing, he found himself surrounded by dudes with not much to do. What unfolded was a long, protracted series of adventures into the art of curing boredom. Told in a collection of vignettes, Operation Cure Boredom is a coming of age story in camouflage. From dodging alligators, to surfing the inside of a plane at 30,000 feet, to being taken hostage by a Frenchwoman, and sex education in church, this absurdist portrait of life in the military is both an iconic look at listlessness in wartime, and the whirlwind journey of a young man getting the adventure he didn’t know he needed.


I’m a big proponent of not judging a book by its cover, however, I broke the cardinal rule with Dan Martin’s memoir. Fortunately, the story-line helped sway my pre-judgment. Sometimes difficult to keep attention, the underlying message was clear and relevant to adults out there. I appreciated the flow of the personal narratives as each chapter was a mini event or memory in Martin’s young life. Combining these, the take-aways include growing up and going against the grain. Dan embraces life’s challenges and failures as those are unavoidable. The question of ‘Now what?” in life and starting over after the army speaks to transitions and changes that we don’t expect after we have some semblance of a plan mapped out. For the most part, I am not a fan of a rushed ending as this wrapped up pretty quickly. Even though it was a boy finds girl conclusion, it is quite comical that the entire memoir he was in search of meeting girls and the army seemed like the place to find them. Again, that may have been the surface level goal but creating his own life and embracing the changes turned out to be the life altering he was looking for – coming from a troubled childhood. As someone who is still trying to figure out this whole #Adulting thing, I found Martin’s memoir refreshing as all of us have that struggle of experiencing the unexpected when it comes to growing up.

Memorable Quotes

“Almost entirely forgotten was the whole reason I joined the military – to meet girls and travel. It became this weird period in my young adult life where the combination of Clorox and tile floors was more fascinating to me than socializing”

“We were stuck between two worlds: wanting to be treated like an adult without having to act like one. I thought I was going to enjoy a responsible adulthood, but when I realized it amounted to more than playing video games on the weekends, I was no longer interested. There was no escaping myself”

“Because nothing motivates me more to change my life than the threat of having to relive my past”

“Because while I wasn’t sure of anything at this moment, I knew being bored and having no plan had done me pretty well so far. And that was fine with me”

Read Operation Cure Boredom if you like the themes of:

  • Independence
  • Self-Discovery
  • Adulthood

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