If you want to know more about life in a military family, do not ask the soldier, the sailor, the airman. They will give you the standard government-issued picture—the “Gung-Ho” version. No, ask the parents who raised a fine, upstanding child, a scholar, a model citizen, the helper of small children and hobbling old ladies. Ask the mother who watched that son go off to fulfill his patriotic duty by serving his country, only to return as a grown man but wounded in mind or body.
Ask the wife who marries her prince charming only to discover that his white horse is more likely to be an Army tank or a Marine helicopter. Ask her about missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and graduations. Ask her about the sleepless nights and the stomach-churning fear each time she sees a military staff car on her street. Ask her about the man who replaced the charming boy she married—the one who must always sit with his back to a wall, the one who dives under the nearest table if a waiter drops a tray of dishes, the one who cannot awaken from his PTSD-inspired nightmares.
The author of this book is the wife of a Vietnam veteran, dead too soon thanks to Agent Orange, and the mother of two children who followed their father’s shining example. The son is a reluctant hero, a pilot who saved 84 wounded soldiers in Afghanistan. The daughter defied all odds (and the traditional sexual harrasssment of the military old guard) to become a top-rated Navy pilot. Victoria Ventura understands their stories all too well. Her poems portray ttheir experiences with unflinching honesty. She probes the sore places and lifts the veil that usually hides the grief from public view. Reading her words will hurt.
Approach the poems of “Two Stars: Reflections of a Military Wife and Mother” without judgment. The reader’s task is not to critique the unskilled poetic forms but to feel the pain they describe. Read these unedited words for their brutal honesty. And keep the tissues handy.
Review by Carolyn Schriber (July 2018)
This book was written to give a deeper understanding about the military because words can paint pictures that come alive of past experiences. They are like movies of the mind, the scenes that portray soldiers and their families in real life experiences whether at home, protecting foreign countries to establish a democracy, flying combat missions and being in combat on the ground. The idea of the cute Vietnam young lady twirling a flag that covers her from all the elements of war, to a Firefight pinning down Army Rangers on a hill by the Taliban and then being protected by “Big Bird’(an AC-130 Specter Gunship), gives us visions of being safe while being pinned down in a dangerous crossfire. You can feel the sadness and hear the tears and the tension in Arlington’s slow and methodical parade to the last resting sight of a soldier’s
graveside. This is followed by the bursting of explosive laughter at the simplicity of the horses’ antics at such a serious event. I hope that these experiences will give a deeper understanding to the military life of soldiers and their families as they live day to day at home, overseas deployed in foreign countries or in dangerous war zone.
ISBN/ASIN: ISBN-10 0-9988249-3-3 ISBN 13 978-0-9988249-3-2
Book Format(s): Soft cover
Genre(s): Collections, Memoir, Poetry Book
Review Genre: Nonfiction—Memoir/Biography
Number of Pages: 76