Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunrise Over Fallujah

I just finished this book. The writing is typical Myers - wonderfully well written. The man tells a compelling story. However, I was disappointed. While working on my MLS I had read Myers' Fallen Angels. Having liked that book I was looking forward to this one. Maybe it's because I'm a military spouse. Maybe it's because Fallen Angels was historical fiction for me and Sunrise Over Fallujah is current fiction. I just feel that on this one, Myers did not quite get the whole story. I do not believe war is glamorous. I was not looking for a hooah war story, but I do know that our soldiers have had positive interactions with the Iraqi people. It would have been a more balanced story if Myers had included that. When I started reading the book, I did not think that Myers was trying to make a political statement about the war, but maybe I was wrong. And, I sure wish the members outside the military community would get the terminology for Non-Commission Officers right. They are not noncoms. They are NCOs and anyone who has bothered to do a little research would know that. Ok - sorry. That's a personal pet peeve. If you can put aside your own thoughts about the war, this is a good book to read. As I said the writing is excellent. Maybe for my children, reading Sunrise Over Fallujah will be like my reading Fallen Angels

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Getting Away is Deadly

I just finished Sara Rosett's latest Mom Zone Mystery - "Getting Away Is Deadly." Though Sara's character, Ellie, is an Air Force wife, I find that she experiences many of the same military spouse challenges as me and my fellow Army wives. While in the military, you have housing rather than a home. You frequently say goodbye to good friends. The military may ask you where you want to be stationed, but it really doesn't matter what you want. And FRGs, no matter the duty station or the branch of service, can be a challenge. However, murder is not a common occurrence in my routine. But, I do love mysteries. The aforementioned similarities make it easy to connect with Rosett's books. She's an excellent story teller. I enjoy seeing if I can beat Ellie to the solution. So far, it's about even. And the organizational tips are a plus. Maybe someday I will get around to using them.

Other titles in the series: "Moving Is Murder" and "Staying Home Is Killer."

What's on your summer reading list?

Monday, June 23, 2008

100 Days and 99 Nights

The second season of Army Wives (cable network’s highest rated show – so they say) has started and I find myself reading more military related books. My husband is big into military history, but I’m ore into military fiction, especially military family fiction.

I recently read “100 Days and 99 Nights” by Alan Madison. It is about a second grade girl who has to survive 100 days and 99 nights of her father’s deployment. It was a good read and I will recommend it to my students who have military parents. However, I was surprised to learn that the author was inspired to write the book after talking with children whose parents have been deployed. As a military spouse with children, I didn’t find the story to be typical of military kids. In the book, Esme’s father is an Army Sergeant. My experience has been that most real world Army deployments last much longer than 100 days and 99 nights. My husband assures me that it is possible for an army deployment to be a short one. I was also confused by the difficulty the children had in finding ways to help the war effort. Their teacher tells them about how children during WWII helped support the war effort. For some reason the children seem bent on finding the exact same ways to show their support, even though there are more modern ways of supporting the war effort than trying to buy bonds or gather scrap metal. Over the years since the Iraqi war started, there have been so many news stories of children and young adults finding wonderful ways to support the soldiers (greeting card drives, care package drives, sock and book drives, etc). I was surprised that these were not included in the book.

However the book does hit one issue right on target: the difficulty that children go through when a parent is deployed. Even for a young girl with a “can do attitude”, deployment is rough. Madison’s story shows these challenges and how children can work through them. He doesn’t try to make out like it’s easy, nor does he try to make out like it’s impossible.

While on the military book kick, I just started Sara Rosett’s latest Air Force wife mystery – “Getting Away is Deadly”. If you like mysteries and want some insight in to the life of a military spouse, her books are good, fun read.

And, even though I prefer fiction to non-fiction – I’ve also started “Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq” by Kirsten Holmstedt. I’ve just started it, but I suspect it will put my small every day challenges into perspective.

What are you reading?