Sunday Salon ~ September 14th, 2008

This evening AFN (Armed Forces Network) aired the USAA “America United In Support Of Our Troops” special which aired in the States last Sunday on ABC.  It was great seeing a special drawing attention to the men, women and families who give so much to our great nation every day.  At a time of year when patriotic emotions run strong in our country due to the now seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, it was nice to see that positive attention was being brought to our armed services. 

Living over here in Okinawa and being dependant on the U.S. Military for so many things has opened my eyes to a life that I didn’t know anything about four years ago.  Now some of my best friends are some of the strong and brave military spouses who sacrifice so much of themselves for their country.  One of the interviews on the USAA special was the spouse of a Marine Corps pilot.  She said that she loves our country because she gives her husband to us on multiple deployments and that some would call her a hero, she believes that she is married to one.  And she is. 

Just a reminder that a great organization is out there to help bring support to our troops and their families.  It’s called “America Supports You” and you can learn more about them at http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/

Now on to what I read this week.  I finally finished Allison Winn Scotch’s Time of My Life for a book review I had to write for BookBrowse.com.  I was a disappointed with this book and thought it could have been so much better.  I will be posting my review here later this week. 

Now I am reading Driving Sideways by the darling Jess Riley.  What a fun, well paced and enjoyable book!  I am almost halfway done and find myself laughing out loud constantly as I’m reading.  This week I will also be hosting another giveaway.  I just have to choose which of four books I have waiting to giveaway will be the lucky title for this week.  I’ll let you know soon!

What are you reading this weekend?  Now that school is back in session for the kiddos, do you find yourself with more time for reading and the stuff you really like to do for yourself or are you even busier?  I don’t have kids but most of my girlfriends do so the social calendar has been busier over the last three weeks and continues to fill up as we get further into fall.  Well actually here in Okinawa its more like an extended summer.  The temps don’t start to drop till the end of October here.

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Mrs. Lieutenant

THE CONTEST DEADLINE HAS ARRIVED

“They had their whole lives to look forward to if only their husbands could survive Vietnam.  In the spring of 1970…four newly married young women come together at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, when their husbands go active duty as officers in the U.S. Army.”

                                       A Sharon Gold Novel

I received the novel, “Mrs. Lieutenant” in the mail last week from the author Phyllis Zimbler Miller.  Thanks to Books on the Brain for recommending me as a reader/reviewer for this title.  I spent three days reading “Mrs. Lieutenant” from cover to cover and needless to say, I didn’t get much else done in that time.  The hubby was pretty impressed when I announced that I had finished it in such a short period of time and asked me what I thought. 

I really enjoyed “Mrs. Lieutenant”.  It’s a story of four very different women who find themselves in the same situation.  They are all married to active duty officers in the United States Army and the Vietnam War is raging overseas.  The possibility of their husbands having to report for duty in a distant land, where life and death is at stake, is highly probable and a reality that none of them want to face. 

Sharon, Donna, Kim & Wendy are from very different backgrounds and are very nervous about meeting people different from themselves.  Sharon is from Chicago (a northerner), Jewish and is strongly opposed to the Vietnam War.  Donna is a Puerto Rican Army brat married to a White man from the mid-west but has a secret.  Kim is the most naive of the four, having grown up in foster care with her younger sister in rural North Carolina.  She depends on her close-minded, jealous and hotheaded husband for everything.  Wendy is the daughter of a doctor, is from South Carolina and is African-American.  Her parents sheltered her her whole life and for the first time she is getting a taste of discrimination in northern Kentucky. 

After a rough start between them they get to know and depend on each other as friends and confidants.  They face many rough patches together and individually during their short stay at Ft. Knox where their husbands are in Army Officer Basic Training School.  They have to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. 

For the most part I really enjoyed this book.  The story drew me in and I felt a connection with the characters.  Though I am not a military spouse, I have become friends with many Marine wives and a couple of Air Force wives here on Okinawa.  Unfortunately I believe that many of the same limitations and challenges that faced the characters in the military of 1970 are still being faced by the military spouse today.  The fear of speaking up because it may cause a ripple and affect your husband’s job is still very real.  This is one problem that I do not face with my husband’s job and I have found myself face to face with a high-ranking officer’s wife, questioning her actions.  The common question among my friends was, “You did that?!”. 

The prejudices of 1970 were still very prevalent and at times it was uncomfortable to read the passages where tensions were raised.  The book was enjoyable and quick paced which I liked.  I had only one problem while reading and that was the distraction of how the author used present tense instead of past tense but that is just a personal preference.  After a while I felt like I was there in the story as an observer. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the life of a military spouse.  “Mrs. Lieutenant” is very relevant in today’s world.  The military spouse faces fear of their loved one being deployed to the Middle East at a moments notice just as those women did during the Vietnam War.  I have a few friends who have deployed and since returned from both Iraq and Afghanistan and I spent every day worrying about their safety, not able to imagine the level of stress and constant worry that their families felt.  I will recommend “Mrs. Lieutenant” to my friends here in Okinawa and those who have since PCS’d (Permanent Change of Station aka moved), knowing that they would be able to relate to the stories of Sharon, Donna, Kim & Wendy.

{Rating – 4 out of 5} 

 

WIN IT: Phyllis Zimbler Miller is offering a signed copy of her novel, “Mrs. Lieutenant”, to one Planet Books reader. All readers with US, US military, and Canadian addresses are eligible.
To enter, just leave a comment here by Midnight EST on July 4th, either about this post (for example, tell us about your own “first day” as a spouse or soldier or about someone you know affiliated with the military) or about something you saw on www.mrslieutenant.com. Comments that simply say, “win” or “hello” will not be eligible.  The winner will be chosen at random by Planet Books.