Book recommendations for military spouses getting ready for deployment.

Dinner with the Smiley’s

I first saw this book when I was browsing the shelves of Barnes and Nobles and after reading a quick synopsis of what it was about, I downloaded it to my Nook. This was around the time that Jake and I were engaged, so Navy wife life was on the horizon and I thought that something written by a military spouse might help me prepare for it. When I envisioned deployment, I thought about how great it would be to not have to cook for someone, I could leave my dishes in the sink for a while, and Netflix would be my best friend. Sarah Smiley showed me that there is so much more that we can do for ourselves and for others during a deployment or separation! She committed to having someone fill the empty chair at the dinner table once a week during her husband’s one year tour in Africa. Her sons came up with who they wanted to invite over and the list covers a range of people from teachers and coaches to state senators and sports stars. Sarah talks about the realities of life as a single parent and some of her Murphy’s Law stories (whatever can happen will happen while your husband’s gone) are out of this world! I enjoyed reading it as a fiancee and I think wives and moms who wants to learn more about how to make the most out of deployment should pick up a copy of Dinner with the Smiley’s!

Tour of Duty

Sara Horn has written a number of great devotionals and bible studies for military wives. Before Jake left, I bought myself a copy of Tour of Duty. It is an excellent devotional as well as a practical guide for understanding our reactions and feelings before, during, and after deployment. Let me tell you, it’s quite the rollercoaster! I especially learned a lot from one of the back sections of the book called “The Emotional and Spiritual Stages of Deployment”. It helped me to identify what I was going through, how normal it was to feel that way, and what the most helpful response would be for our marriage. There are seven chapters plus some extra helps and a leader’s guide, so it would make a great small group study! If you’re struggling to understand how deployment will affect you, Tour of Duty is a great read.

No Man’s War

This book. Oh man, I love No Man’s War! It’s an candid and brazen story from Angela Ricketts, an Army officer’s wife who tells her tale in a raw and upfront manner. This girl has seen it all, from extended Iraq deployments to catty officer’s wives to dealing with lives lost in their unit. I loved her perspective on what kind of wives that make the best friends, how to support one another through separation, and what it’s truly means to be an Army family. I laughed and I cried through this one and it definitely made it to the top of my list of favorite military books! (Small warning: Towards the end of the book, she shares about a traumatic experience that occurred late at night during one of her husband’s first deployments. I was not prepared for it and it scared me a bit. So, if you’re the paranoid sort and your manly man isn’t around, maybe wait to read this one!)
Book recommendations for military spouses getting ready for deployment.

American Sniper

Now I know this title has gotten a ton of publicity lately due to the movie and the trial, but I would strongly urge you to read the book! Chris Kyle tells his story in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting at the dinner table with him. He thoughtfully shares about his time in the Navy and he gets into some of his beliefs about why he would go to war and become a sniper. I LOVED the fact that there are parts of the book where Taya interjects her thoughts and experiences and they both take the time to honestly address the state of their marriage through out his time in the Navy. It’s the first book I’ve seen where I got to hear both sides of life in the Navy. The other reason I would encourage you to read the book is because the full story is much more powerful than the movie! I read the book before seeing the movie and I feel like reading the Kyle’s story is the best way to understand it! (There is a fair amount of language throughout the book, similar to the movie.)
Have you read any of these four books? Which one sounds most interesting to you?
What other books would you recommend for someone new to the military?