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?

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