This post was written in trade for a complimentary copy of Amalie Flynn’s ebook, “Wife and War: The Memoir”. All opinions are my own.
Many of us in the military spouse community think of ourselves as writers; we write blog posts for our own sites and as guest bloggers.
Amelie Flynn, author of Wife and War: The Memoir, reminds me of the distinction between being a blogger and being a writer. Flynn’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, TIME’S “Battleland”, and The Huffington Post. CNN has drawn attention to Flynn’s work, and her two blogs, Wife and War and September Eleventh have readers from more than 90 countries.
I’ve followed Flynn since I realized I was going to marry a service member. Her poetry quiets my mind, and at times, it leaves a knot in my throat. During moments of my husband’s 2012 deployment to Afghanistan, I had trouble reading Flynn’s work because it was so true. So honest. So real.
When I offered to review Wife and War: The Memoir here on Marrying The Army, I was already familiar with Flynn’s poetry. What I wasn’t familiar with was her storytelling.
Almost seamlessly, Flynn’s poetry moves into narrative. As I read Wife and War: The Memoir, it was as if the book kept its own time. There was a smooth cadence to Flynn’s words; a lilt and flow that made the transitions between her poetry and her narratives nearly unnoticeable.
Flynn’s story begins in New York City on 9/11. She was in Manhattan that day, just a short walk from the Twin Towers. After leaving New York, she met her now-husband, but the terrors of 9/11 were still vivid in her memory.
Not so long after marrying her husband, he’s sent to Afghanistan for one of the 15-month deployments that so many families endured (my husband’s, included, although I’d not yet met him them).
Flynn’s writing is somehow pure and honest — heart-achingly real — without being raw. In fact, the filtered, clean, truth of her writing is one of the qualities that puts Flynn in a very different category in my mind than the many spouses out there who write.
Wife and War: The Memoir made it clear to me that Flynn is first a writer and second a writer who is married to a service member. She is no hack. No blogger calling herself a writer. Flynn is an artist of words who has been unlucky enough to not only experience 9/11, but to live in the post-9/11 military family reality of wars that don’t end when our warriors return home.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone; it is not a light or an easy read. I would absolutely recommend Wife and War: The Memoir to anyone who appreciates literary arts, or to anyone who wants to understand what it’s really like to send your husband off to war — and then to bring him back home.
As Flynn says in her book’s Prologue:
…In 2007, my husband deployed to Afghanistan. He was gone for fifteen months. For fifteen months, I did not see him. For fifteen months, I wondered if he would be killed. For fifteen months, I wondered if he would come home. And he did come home. But the war was not over. Another war was starting, starting right here at home.
This is my story.
It is a story about war and what comes after.”