Friday, March 19, 2010

Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

“When the war on terror calls their husbands to duty, five LDS women are left behind to fight battles of their own: Kim, newlywed and pregnant, frightened of what the future might bring. Brenda, struggling to manage three unruly boys and a crippling bout of depression. Jessie, secretly grappling with mixed feelings about her crumbling marriage. Marianne, wrestling with a rebellious teenage daughter. And Nora, the seasoned Army wife with perfect hair, an immaculate home—and an ill-tempered mother dying of cancer.
Knowing the separation of deployment is extremely difficult, Nora gathers the wives every week to share lunches and burdens. In good company, they worry over safety in the field and stability at home and offer one another counsel and comfort.

But as their personal crises build, each woman faces the risks of forming deep bonds of trust. And when tragedy strikes, they must confront the painful realities of war that pull families apart and bring friends together as sisters.” (Summary from Author’s website)

I read this book just at the right time. I have been feeling lately that I’m in a huge reading rut. I don’t know if I’m just burned out on YA novels or what, but I’ve been frustrated with the books I’ve picked up lately. So, I feel very happy to be able to say that I really enjoyed reading this book! It took a little while for me to get to know the characters and their situations enough to keep them straight, but once I got into the story I was hooked.

Each of the five women are at a different stage of life, ranging from a newlywed 20 year old on her first pregnancy all the way to a classy older woman experiencing her grandmother years. The woman in between these two extremes of the age line experience the struggles that come from rearing infants, toddlers, and teenagers. In short, these woman’s stories individually and collectively explore a lifetime of experiences. I related most with the 20 year old, Kim, who was just starting out her life as a mother and wife. I remember so clearly what that first year of marriage was like, and still feeling like a teenager almost.

I think this aspect of the book results in a work that would lend itself to being re-read every few years. I wonder to myself which character I would relate with most in five years, ten years, fifteen? It would be excellent for Relief Society book clubs, which often have women of all ages reading the same book. It was refreshing to read a book that looked at life from so many different perspectives.

Each woman struggles with their husband’s deployment in their own way, and the book focuses on the struggles that they each face. The author takes great care in showing that each woman has a burden to bear, and their own hang-ups. Sometimes it is easy for the woman to judge each other and evaluate who has got life easier, but in the end they all have trials. They all wonder how they are going to survive the year, and make it through each day.

It is rewarding to watch these woman band together and form a little support group for themselves, but the book isn’t just a pep talk on how to get through a hard life. It really does deal with serious issues, and is sometimes a little depressing. Don’t go into it expecting a fluffy, chick-lit, type novel. Although the book is sad it is ultimately uplifting, and enjoyable.

Check out Annette's website or blog to find ways that you can help families affected by military deployment.
Annette Lyon's website
The Lyon's Tale

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