GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

I am not a history person. At all. I cannot emphasize this enough. But for some reason, I could not put down this book for the life of me despite by years of historical boycott. (I will say that Hamilton is converting me a little bit but I won’t go into that because I’m sure there are plenty of people out there screaming in their heads “Enough with Hamilton!” and then us Hamilton fans are all “Never! I’m not throwing away my shot!” and then there is uncomfortable situations and arguments and splitting sides and….this I the longest side note/run on sentence ever…Summary: I didn’t like history when I first read this book, things have changed since then but for this context, I did not expect to love this book as much as I ended up loving it. Okay and we’re back!). WWII European War brides trying to make it in America with their brand new military husband, in concept seems, frankly kind of boring but I picked this book up randomly just because it was available in the audio library app, and it completely blew me away (….my name is Philip, I am a poet. Promise, last Hamilton reference). Honestly the random finds are sometimes the best finds. Following the true stories of 4 amazing women to find and follow their loves across the sea. They tell their heartbreaking stories of adjusting to this new life, of being outcasts, seeing right in front of them, the lack of acceptance from family, seek the desperately needed acceptance of other GI brides and unfortunately, for more than one, experience what it’s like to fall out of love. I know that it not much of a summary when it comes to explaining the book but one of the best things about reading this is the experience of going into this reading experience blind.

This book made me think about the will of people. Imagine what it is like to leave your entire life behind for a single person. What do you think about? I think about my dear mother who moved so far away to be with my dear father. I think about how the fast way for my mom to get back home would be a 14 hour plane ride. In a time, where phone calls were expensive, where letters days apart was the main form of getting any notice, where there are certain days that you know, you are going to be alone. I could not do it. I am not trying to be purposefully humble or gain self righteous empathy because I would honestly fall apart if I went through what some of these women went through. Their courage is what I aspire to. I think anyone who enjoys human interest stories are required to read GI Brides.


Seeking that Hollywood Ending,

~C

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