Library Journal review
"Brats: Our Journey Home"
Mike Brown (Bowie High School, MD), School Library Journal
May 1, 2006
Gr 9 Up.
Nomadic. Rootless. Invisible. The only constant—change.
All colors and all creeds, they followed unquestioningly in childhoods simultaneously “cruel, magical,
privileged, and painful.” They are worldly, yet sheltered. They are Brats—children of military personnel,
numbering 15 to 20 million. Donna Musil has created a film for, by, and about Brats but of interest to
everyone. Brat Kris Kristofferson narrates. Psychotherapist and Brat Stephanie Donaldson Pressman terms
the military family “the narcissistic family”—one where the focus is on the father as in Brat Pat Conroy’s
The Great Santini (the film starred Brat Robert Duvall). Mission comes first and personal needs
are subservient. Crying and emotion become shameful as children strive to “be the good soldier.”
By interspersing archival footage and photos with interviews of a cross section of Brats, Musil reveals
the Brat’s world. Some language in Kristofferson’s donated songs may be a bit harsh for more conservative
libraries or audiences. With the advent of the Internet, “lost” Brat friends have found each other and
learned that their personal experiences were not unique. Musil’s film examines a culture that is just
beginning to realize that it exists and has started to explore itself. Brats offers a powerful glimpse
of life “inside the fortress.” It is a must see for Brats and will be surprisingly popular with