One of the least funny things in the world is war. Which is why, despite the title, I pegged The 188th Crybaby Brigade as a drama. I was completely off.

In this poignant memoir, Joel Chasnoff relates his experiences in the Israeli armored brigade; the culmination of a childhood dream for a skinny Jew from Chicago. But the difference is that while each stage of his training was rife with horrors and hardships, Chasnoff manages to tinge each situation with enough humor to keep you reading instead of recoiling in revulsion.

While each anecdote is both funny and endearing in and of itself, they also paint a portrait of a man faced with redefining himself within an army fighting to defend a divided country. From a brutal and ultimately useless stint in a training facility to some slight (and sometimes not-so-slight) pushing towards marriage from his girlfriend’s family, The 188th Crybaby Brigade is both hilarious and eye opening – and totally worth a read.

Grade: A

The 188th Crybaby Brigade is currently available.