by Siobhan Fallon
Rated 5 Stars
This book is about the experiences and stresses on Army Wives at Fort Hood, Texas when their husbands unit deploys, sometimes multiple times. I thought I might relate to this book more than I did because I was certainly no stranger to deployments as I was a military wife (Navy) during the Viet Nam war.
But while some experiences are universal re: separation and what I always called "shifting gears" from being "In Charge" to part of a partnership, I was older than these girls (and to me they are girls.) My children were all school age and I had the relief of always being able to find a job outside my home and was able to keep my days filled and my brain distracted. And brother, were they full! Also sailors usually are (excepting corpsmen, small boat crews and seals) not in the immediate danger that soldiers are so while I was lonely I was never terrified for Jim's safety
on a daily basis. My heart goes out to these families for what they are going through
Good book though. More Americans than will ought to read it. There is a tendency to ignore this never ending war we are caught up in. Out of sight, out of mind seems to be most peoples attitude.
Reminiscent of Raymond Carver and Tim O'Brien, an unforgettable collection of intercollected short stories.
In Fort Hood housing, like all army housing, you get used to hearing through the walls... You learn too much. And you learn to move quietly through your own small domain. You also know when the men are gone. No more boots stomping above, no more football games turned up too high, and, best of all, no more front doors slamming before dawn as they trudge out for their early formation, sneakers on metal stairs, cars starting, shouts to the windows above to throw them down their gloves on cold desert mornings. Babies still cry, telephones ring, Saturday morning cartoons screech, but without the men, there is a sense of muted silence, a sense of muted life.
There is an army of women waiting for their men to return in Fort Hood, Texas. Through a series of loosely interconnected stories, Siobhan Fallon takes readers onto the base, inside the homes, into the marriages and families-intimate places not seen in newspaper articles or politicians' speeches.
When you leave Fort Hood, the sign above the gate warns, You've Survived the War, Now Survive the Homecoming. It is eerily prescient.