Monday, January 12, 2015

Redeployment by Phil Klay

I didn't know what to expect from the novel, Redeployment, when I picked it up. The cover screams military with cammies and a duffel bag. I've seen the pair together more times than I prefer :) I figure that's enough for me to like the book. The synopsis reads war stories and the aftermath. I'm pretty interested in those things too.  My friend suggested we read it together and discuss it after. Sealed deal!

I didn't know the book would be fiction. Which is something I discovered well into the book. The author is so on point that I thought I was reading true accounts until chapter 4 or 5. I read a review which noted Redeployment was fiction. The author is a Marine who served in Iraq. I'm guessing he has some experience to tap into. I also didn't realize until several chapters in these were all short stories. Each chapter covering a different perspective and issue miiltiary members face after serving in war. Some times I just had to put the book down. It was pretty heavy and real stuff.

My friend and I discussed the book over wine and appetizers. A casual setting in the beautiful California winter weather. We are spoiled. As military wives, there is this moment of jaw dropping disbelief. We hung together as our own husbands served in Iraq time after time after time. We never really understood.
"Do you think your husband's time in Iraq has affected him long term?"
"Um, yea."

We talked a lot. We normally do :) But this was more eye opening for us. We got a peek into the other side. A side that most men cannot express. Phil Klay is a poetic and emotional writer. He made me, as a woman and military wife, understand that I will probably never know the true impact of my husband's time in war. And it's okay. It might even be what my husband needs.

I kept suggesting my husband read this book. It's so interesting, I told him. He never seemed interested. I think I know why. This book might be more for the civilian. A way for us to understand the real sacrifice our men and women have made for our country. I think that type of empathy is important. Those who have lived the book probably don't need to be informed.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I feel like I'm a better person having read it. I had no idea. I read a lot of military war books in the past. They interest me. None have been so completely raw that I had to literally walk away from the book to process. I think everyone should read this book. At the very least, every spouse, parent, sibling, and BFF to a veteran. You need to know.

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  1. I seriously just put this on my to-read list last night!

  2. I am downloading this from iBooks right now. I read a 36 page sample, and I'm stunned by how similar it is to the stories my husband has told me in pieces. Wow.

  3. I might have to add that to my list!

  4. I am going to look this up. While I am divorced from my Marine (married 1999-present, separated since 2011) - I think it will be a good glimpse into the changes he faced when he came home, got out and the subsequent changes that may have contributed to the demise of our marriage. Thank you!