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Reviewed by Ashley Elizabeth Blair Tetzlaff for Readers' Favorite
In My Afghanistan Campaign Diary: Views of a Military Spouse, A. Piper Burgi wrote a day-to-day diary of her thoughts, experiences, and emotions as she and her husband, Kenneth, prepared for and experienced his third deployment to Afghanistan. The diary covers pre-deployment (November 18, 2011 to May 29, 2012), deployment (May 30 to December 1), and the first month of post-deployment. Mrs. Burgi recounts things like: nightmares at night of her husband’s death, the exhaustion of parenting special needs dogs, the emotional stress and loneliness of having a husband deployed overseas in a fighting zone, and enduring the rugged weather of Alaska.
When I first started reading My Afghanistan Campaign Diary: Views of a Military Spouse, I wasn’t sure if I liked the book – it struck me like A. Piper Burgi was whining and complaining about her husband’s coming deployment. But then I tried to put myself in her shoes. Do I complain when my husband has to work twelve to fourteen hour days in his lawn care business? Sure I do – if not out loud, at least to myself. How would I like it, though, if my first husband had died while using his lawn mower, and my current husband was scheduled to go overseas for seven months, mowing in treacherous terrain, possibly getting shot at by other mowing company employees, and during that whole time I could only expect to talk with him five to forty-five minutes a day. Wow! I would be a mess. This totally changed my perspective of Mrs. Burgi's point-of-view. I realized that this book is not a complaint list as much as a brutally honest account of the emotional and mental toll that deployment plays in the lives of military families. I applaud Mrs. Burgi for being willing to open up about her struggles as an Air Force spouse. I am not sure I could have been as honest about reality. So, while at first I missed the glorified version of the military you see in the movies, I came to deeply appreciate and enjoy the candid nature and tone of this work. Highly recommended reading!