Formation: a Woman’s Memoir of Stepping out of Line by Ryan Leigh Dostie

November 10, 2019 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Ryan Dostie never imagined herself on the front lines of a war halfway around the world.

Hired as a linguist with the US Army, she quickly has to find her place in the testosterone-filled world of an Army barracks, and then the unthinkable happens: she is raped by a fellow soldier.

Struggling with PTSD and commanders who don’t trust her story, Dostie finds herself fighting through the isolation

An Amazon Best Book review reads, in part,

Ryan Leigh Dostie’s story of her life so far – raised in a matriarchal cult in Connecticut, joining the US Army to pursue her love of languages, her sexual assault by a fellow soldier, deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the crippling aftershocks of PTSD – flings the reader around so many unsettling corkscrews, as well as breathtaking highs and lows that you may stagger when you flip the final page. The core of Dostie’s story is about the assault, followed by the Army’s determination that her accusation is “unsubstantiated” despite evidence to the contrary, and how it claws away at Dostie’s confidence and self-worth, propelling her along dangerous paths. But Formation is a war memoir, too. Her stories about battle and occupation will sound familiar to regular readers of the genre as will the psychological impacts that gut the soldiers on the ground. When a male soldier tells her, “I don’t think I can ever love again,” she’s terrified of this insight even as numbness swells insider her as well. True life rarely hews to a predicable narrative structure, and Dostie refuses to perpetuate that myth, penning a memoir that inspires, terrifies, enrages, and prompts triumphant fist-pumping all at once.

Please join us as Dostie presents readings from her book, followed by a time for questions and discussion. She will have books to sell and sign, and she’s planning to linger afterwards for more private conversations, questions, etc. Of course, feel free to purchase a book for yourself prior and bring for a signing. Come one, come all.


Laura Repka

Catherine Magnusson

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