Signing his book for students, Pitre gets to speak with his Gaucho fans and discuss his book choosen to be read for One Book, One College. (Kseniya Taranyuk/ Lariat)
Michael Pitre, author of “Five and Twenty Fives”, visited Saddleback College’s Fine Arts quad for a book signing and conversation in the McKinney Theatre to support Saddleback College’s 2016 One Book, One College program.
“It’s a new program we just started here at Saddleback called ‘One Book, One Club,'” director Claire Cesareo said. “The idea behind it is that everybody on campus and in the college community as well reads the same book and discusses the same book. Throughout the semester it was used in classes and extracurricular activities and was used though a series of events, this being the final event.”
The event also showcased a performance by Saddleback dancers and live music performed by Devin Cooney, Rob Felix and Ethan Olinger. A students’ artwork from a variety of art classes was also displayed.
Pitre’s novel “Fives and Twenty-Fives” follows a marine’s life in the road repair platoon. Their mission lacks the glory of the infantry, but in a war where every pothole contains a hidden bomb, road repair brings its own danger.
Lt. Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them.
This book gives a new perspective on war exploring its impact on those who are actually fighting and how the U.S. treats its veterans when they return to normal life at home. It also touches on our lack of sensitivity to invaded citizenry and Pitre also wants other vets to know it’s okay to struggle for a time. This novel came about when Pitre couldn’t seem to find sleep at night giving birth to very detailed characters and recount of the war.
“Every person who reads the book is one more person than i expected,” Pitre said. “Like everything else associated to this experience for me its been surreal.”
Pite is a graduate of Louisiana State University and in 2002 joined the United States Marine Corps, deploying twice to Iraq. He wrote his book while earning his masters in business administration at Loyola University.
“That was really the cool. I’ve never met an author of any book in particular,” Maritza Figueiras, 19 nursing, said. “I like it so far. the author seems like a really down to earth guy.”
One Book, One College is a shared college read that promotes the discussion and understanding of the broader issues we face. This program is aimed to create dialogue amongst the campus and beyond and create a community of readers here on campus.
“This is our first annual event,” Cesareo said. “We’re going to use novels and nonfiction and various kinds of books that get the college engaged in discussions and dialogue.”
To get involved in One Book, One Club check www.saddleback.edu/ob1c to stay up to date with information and events.