True Story

“Thank You For Your Service” and Other Adaptations of True Stories

This week is the opening of one of my most anticipated movie adaptations this year, Thank You for Your Service. The film is based on David Finkel’s truly excellent 2013 book of the same name, and stars Miles Teller as Sgt. Adam Schumann and Haley Bennett as his wife, Saskia.

Sponsored by Workman Publishing, publisher of Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything

Looking back with fascination, horror, and a dash of dark humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are 67 outlandish, morbidly hilarious “treatments”, exploring their various uses and why they thankfully fell out of favor. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine.

If you haven’t read Thank You for Your Service, I highly recommend it. The book chronicles the lives of soldiers in the 2-16 Infantry Battalion during the 2007 and 2008 “surge” in Iraq. Finkel embedded with the battalion during their deployment, and followed many of the men afterwards to show what it is like for many traumatized soldiers and their families after they come home. It’s a remarkable piece of reporting that offers a compelling portrait of the sacrifices we ask from soldiers and the less obvious sacrifices that a deployment can ask from others. It’s a remarkable piece of work.

Thinking about that movie reminded me that I have some nonfiction adaptation news saved up that I haven’t had a chance to include in a newsletter for awhile:

Production has begun on a movie adaptation of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, a story about a young boy who builds a windmill that saves his African village from a famine. The movie stars newcomer Maxwell Simba as 13-year-old Kamkwamba and Chiwetel Ejiofor as his father. Ejiofor is also directing and writing the adaptation.

Universal Pictures

Felicity Jones is starring as Ruth Bader Ginsberg in an upcoming biopic titled On the Basis of Sex. The film will follow “a young Ginsburg as she fights for equal rights, from her time at Harvard University and Columbia Law School, to Washington, D.C.” The movie is set to be released in 2018.

A production company has acquired the rights to A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story, a memoir by Elaine Brown about her time as the first and only woman to lead the Black Panther Party. The company that acquired the rights is currently negotiating to find a writer.

And finally, Variety reported that “Fox has ordered a script for a drama series based on the book Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class.” The book by Lawrence Otis Graham includes interviews with members of some of America’s most prominent black families. The series will be a “a multi-generational family drama uncovering the lives of America’s black upper class by chronicling a dazzling Chicago dynasty with a dark secret threatening to rip it apart.”

New Releases on My Radar

An American Family by Khizir Khan – It seems a little fitting that a memoir by Khizir Khan, a member of the first Gold Star family that President Trump decided to attack, is coming out amidst criticism of his treatment of another Gold Star family. In the book, Khan recounts his childhood in Pakistan, his efforts to attend Harvard Law School, and the loss of his son in Iraq.


Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan – In this memoir, novelist Amy Tan writes about her traumatic and complicated childhood, her life as a writer, and “the symbiotic relationship between fiction and emotional memory.” I’ve never read any of Tan’s books, but memoirs by writers always fascinate me.


American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee – In the 1920s, wolves were hunted almost to extinction in the United States. Bringing back that population has sparked conflict between conservationists, hunters, ranchers, and others in the West. American Wolf explores that conflict through the story of O-Six, an alpha female beloved by naturalists and other wolf watchers.

Kindle Deals in Biography and Memoir

This week in ebook deals, I want to highlight four great memoirs by interesting women:

And don’t forget, we’re giving away $500 to the bookstore of your choice! Click here to enter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram (@kimthedork) or via e-mail at with questions, comments, or reading suggestions!