For the six years, I served on active duty I had another title I was also a military spouse. Somehow me being a woman who was married to a service member meant that the commander thought I should be part of the military spouse groups his wife was running. To say, that was a bad idea, but I made some really good friends would be the truth. But oddly, my husband had a thriving military spouse group. I did not even know about it until I went to a military lunch function at his unit. When the Colonel’s wife, Valeen, saw the two of us standing next to each other with the same name. She immediately knew I was not only a Lieutenant but a military spouse. She invited me to the military spouse event happening that evening.
Being brought into military spouse groups
I kindly said I would consider coming. And handed over my phone number so that she could send me the information. By the time I had gotten home I had decided I was not attending the military spouse event. My phone rang mid-way through my macaroni and cheese creation. It was Valeen demanding me to give her my address so she could pick me up. She wouldn’t take any excuse I threw at her. And about twenty minutes later I climbed into the car and headed to my first military spouse event.
Every seat in her car was full of other military spouses going to this event. I doubt I would have ever attended another military spouse event had it not been for Valeen. Not only inviting me but then driving to my house and demanding I attend. But instead of not being part of my husband’s military spouse unit I became an active participant attending as many events as my schedule allowed.
Post contains affiliate links
I felt welcomed into the community and as both a military spouse and servicewoman. I found myself lucky to be such an amazing group.
While reading In a Book Club Far Away I felt seen in a way I had never expected. A fictional novel sharing the stories of military spouses. And one of the main characters was an active duty service member who joins the military spouse group. And while the similarities between me and Lt Castro and myself were so different. There were pieces of her story that resonated with mine in a way that made me feel seen. She also built strong friendships through the military spouse group.
The military spouse group I was apart of had a special celebration for me when I left to go to Afghanistan. The fact that women took time out of their lives to take me to dinner the last week before I left was a nice enough gesture. But then right as dinner was ending I turned to grab my wallet and when I looked back at the table each woman had a gift in front of her. They all yelled, “Surprise.” I still don’t know how they did this. Each gift was something they believed would help me through my deployment. They also sent me care packages. And checked in on my husband while I was gone. These women became battle buddies.
In a book club far away
And although I loved reading In a Book Club Far Away as I tore through the pages enjoying the story, it didn’t end quite the way I expected. I’m still not sure if it was my love for the characters and the sudden and abrupt end that led to my dismay. I truly would have loved to spend another 100 pages or more diving deep into the end of the story. Tif Marcelo did a wonderful job of sharing the story from three different perspectives jumping back and forth from present-day to the past. Somehow making what could be a confusing plot all thread together so nicely as each piece of the story built off the last chapter. And then it was over and I was left wishing there was more.
My favorite part of the book was the dynamics of the military spouse group. It was real and full of real people. The stereotype military spouse was there of course. But so was the husband of a military woman, the servicewoman who was also a spouse, and even a military girlfriend. The dynamics made the military spouse experience come alive in a way that I haven’t ever read before. And I felt seen. And even though I didn’t love the ending I really loved the book.
Have you read any books where you felt seen for who you are? Have you read In a Book Club Far Away, I would love to hear what you thought of the book.