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18

THURSDAY

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Growing up in ’60s Connecticut, Julia Collins would wake in the night haunted by exploding silver pineapples—a little-kid interpretation of stories her World War II-vet father would tell her of buddies blasted into bloody mist by Japanese grenades. Daylight wasn’t much better: Dad failed at every job he took and had an affair with the neighbor; Mom drank herself into a mental hospital. For her father, a soldier of the “Good War,” there was never any reward. In My Father’s War, Collins intersperses her chronicle of family struggle with letters her dad wrote as a young man stationed in Okinawa, tracing the Marine officer’s bright future as it faded in a string of disappointments. But Collins doesn’t blame the war for the way things turned out. Rather, her father’s bleak history becomes just another unchangeable part of her troubled childhood, a fate the family lived around because the alternative, leaving one of their own behind, was no kind of option. Collins reads at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Shauna Miller)