Title: Soldier Girls
Author: Helen Thorpe
Publisher: Scribner, August 2014
Summary/Review: A thoroughly touching look at the circumstances and lives of three women in Indiana who, for various reasons, have enlisted in the National Guard. A common thread is an attempt to utilize their service to further their secondary educations with the assistance of the GI Bill. The last thing any of them expect is to be sent to a war zone. But that is exactly what happens when the US becomes ensnared in Afghanistan and Iraq. We see the economic, emotional and family hardships exacted upon these women by prolonged absence from family and friends. We learn how difficult it is to be a woman in the almost-entirely male national guard and then in the US armed services overseas.
The three women are at different ages and points in their lives as they struggle (that’s the only word for their trials) to adapt, thrive and survive the day-to-day boredom, danger and stress of providing administrative, repair and support services, since they are banned from “combat” duties. They are, however, certainly in harm’s way every time they venture outside the US compounds where they work and live while on duty.
This is a look at women in vastly different economic and educational situations than most of us in southern Connecticut experience and certainly enlightens us about the real people behind the headlines and media coverage which barely touches on the human cost of repetitive and prolonged deployments experienced by the citizen-soldiers in the US National Guard services. You will enjoy the time you spend learning about the lives of these three women.
Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a new perspective on war and deployment.
If you like this, try this: Helen Thorpe has written only one other book, “Just Like Us: The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America”, but be on the lookout for more from this author. If you are looking for books about war and deployment, try “Undaunted: The Real Story of America’s Servicewomen in Today’s Military” which offers another take on women in the military, or “Fives and Twenty-Fives” by Michael Pitre.
Recommended by: Mark Z, Guest Reviewer
If you think this is a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold