Stylistically, My Little War feels more like a journal than a novel. It is a series of short entries (not even stories) that recount things like having a conversation with a meat inspector, remembering a kid who got picked on, and talking to a kid who can’t speak very well. The accounts, all titled and told in the first person, are brief, none longer than 3 or 4 pages, and they read as much like things Boon read or overheard as they do things he experienced. No one story builds upon another. No plotlines unfold. And no characters feel knowable. In fact, many of the characters are simply referred to as What’s-his-name. Without a discernible arc or strong characters, My Little War confounds expectations. . . .
I was halfway through this slim volume after one sitting, and I could not say I was enjoying it—but then a funny thing started happening . . .