Friday, January 4, 2013

This book has been billed as an honest look at the price of war on an ordinary American family.  It is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and yes--ultimately--hope.

Michael and Jolene Zarkades are a young couple caught up in the malestrom of every day life.  He is a defense attorney, and she is the mother of two girls and a helicopter pilot with the National Guard.  Iraq erupts, and Jolene is deployed, leaving Michael to be the single parent to their two girls (a role that is obviously foreign to him).  As a mother, Jolene agonizes over leaving her family, but as a soldier she understands the true meaning of duty.  When tragedy befalls Jolene, their 12 year marriage is tested in ways that neither of them could have forseen.

The thing I liked best about this book was its depiction of the sacrifices that our service men and women make by putting themselves in harms way to protect us and ensure our freedom.  Typical of that were the words from the Soldier's Creed posted on the hospital door of Jolene's best friend Tami:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

The character Jolene was a personification of this code.  I had a little trouble relating to her prior to her Iraq experience because she seemed so bottled up and controlled--a little too perfect--but that was no doubt due to her dysfunctional background, coming from an alcoholic family.  She truly found herself in the military--found her purpose.  The character of Michael was well drawn, but I found the two children very annoying.  The older girl (12) was a spoiled brat and the younger girl (4) seemed too much of a baby.

I do totally agree with Hannah when she says that no matter how you feel about war and all the political machinations behind it, we must always support our warriors. 


Marie said...

sounds like a good and thought-provoking read!

KY Warrior Librarian said...

The very best kind, don't you think Marie?

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