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Book explores the lives of the spouses of military personnel
 
The Bookworm Sez
Terri Schlichenmeyer
 
 “The Wives: A Memoir” by Simone Gorrindo, c.2024, Scout Press , $29.99, 407 pages

Thank you for your service.
Necessary reaction, or awkward sentiment? To some, it’s a little of both but most would agree that gratitude is appropriate, even needed. Thank you for putting your life on the line. Thank you for your protection. In the new memoir, “The Wives” by Simone Gorrindo, thank you for remaining behind.
She told him she’d leave him.
When her partner, Andrew, said he was thinking of joining the military, Simone Gorrindo couldn’t imagine it. She’d grown up being taught that guns were bad; she’d even protested a war once and then “gotten drinks at an East Village bar.” She had a dream job in New York. They’d just moved in together. An enlistment was unthinkable.
But Andrew never stopped dreaming. Two years later, Gorrindo “noticed an Army recruitment pamphlet on our nightstand.” The couple sought counseling; he told her that if he had to choose between the Army and her, he’d choose the Army. 
Still, she chose him. They married hastily and moved near Ft. Benning, Georgia, where Andrew would be stationed with a Special Operations contract in-hand. He’d become a member of “the Unit” if he could “pass a rigorous selection process.”
He’d have a lot to learn, but so would Gorrindo. 
They had off-base housing but she couldn’t muster the strength to make it a home. She knew nobody in Georgia, and the wives’ hierarchy on-base was baffling; so were the unknowns and the things nobody – her husband, his team, other wives – could or would tell her. She constantly feared that a “key caller” might notify her of an injury or death in The Unit. She struggled with a marriage, a pregnancy, and a husband who was gone, deployed, way more than he was home, and she missed her old life in New York.  
“People told us, from time to time,” she says, “that we knew what we were ‘signing up for.’ But who really knows what she is signing up for?”
Thank you for your service. You hear it often, or you say it often and you mean it every time. Those who protect and defend our country should be lauded but, as you’ll see in “The Wives,” we can’t forget the other half of this sacrifice.
In a big way, it’s painful to read about. Author Simone Gorrindo writes about weeks of trying to fit in and figure out how to live as a married woman with aspects of singlehood, in a place that’s unfamiliar, and sometimes uncomfortable and unfriendly. On that note, when the story’s anger and loneliness have eased, Gorrindo flips it around to write urgently about the necessity of new friends and support – even though that, too, can be fraught with playground-like worries. It’s a struggle that, even if you’ve never been a dependent, feels familiar.
Reading this story is to immerse yourself into a balancing act that millions of military spouses master, making this a book for them, for civilians, and for the appreciative. Enjoy “The Wives.” It will serve you well. 
4/19/2024