September 30, 2013

Wife and War : The Memoir {a chambanachik review}


Military spouses write with a different perspective than the rest of the world. We can't help it. There is nothing on earth like what we see, what we go through, and how we feel. The rest of the country can never quite know what it's like. Maybe that's what first drew me to Amalie Flynn's poetry. She knows.

She has a beautiful way of telling her secrets and wearing her heart on her sleeve. She wrote about being just blocks away from ground zero on September 11th, the war that followed, and her husband who deployed to Afghanistan. And she wrote about what that feels like to see those things, to remember them. When she announced that her new book, Wife and War: The Memoir was published, I immediately asked her if I could review it. I had to read more of her story.

Most the time I sat there with the book open and propped against one leg, I had one baby next to me and the other on me knee. I thought about how they will never know what it felt like to be alive on September 11, 2001. How strange it is that they will never trade stories about it, or know the sorrow of that day in the way we all know it.  But then, I think about how Amalie was there in a way I would almost never know. Almost.

Now, I get a chance to know. Some people go through experiences so life altering and painful that they can never find the words, and probably don't even want to try. Amalie has found them in Wife and War. She writes things that hurt. She write things that are unimaginable. And yet, somehow, there is a beauty is reading these things, because it means we have a chance to be there in that moment. As I turned the pages, I felt how hard it was to breathe in that toxic dust. I felt my heart ache when the second tower began to crumble. She wrote her story, and in doing so, wrote ours, too.

That day was a pivotal point in Amalie's life. I read how her tale began with the crumbling of buildings, and went on as she became a military spouse, a mother, a wife left at home during a deployment, a survivor. She and her husband faced their own wars and their own ghosts. She flashes back to that September morning so often, comparing life then and life now, her mind imprinted with the images she saw.

I have a habit- perhaps a bad one- of underlining the sentences and phrases in books that grab me the most. The ones I identify with, or the ones that stop me in my tracks, when there are words that don't sound like anyone else's. I found myself wanting to underline so many lines in this book. Written out in poems, it somehow still has the feel of a novel. I wanted to stay up into the early hours to find out what happened.

Many books are read for entertainment. But some- a very few- matter. Wife and War matters. It's a book I won't soon forget.

Wife and War : The Memoir is available on Amazon (both in paperback and for Kindle) and on Barnes and Noble for Nook. Read more here.


*Disclosure: I was generously provided with a copy of Wife and War, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

2 kind comments from you:

keri said...

I love her blog. I have been waiting for this to come out so I could read it.

Chantal said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

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