In December 1965, David Spears said good-bye to his wife and three children and went to fight in Vietnam; he returned "in a cargo plane full of caskets" in July 1966. His family has never been the same. "He was the center of what made me feel safe," Zacharias, then in third grade, explains. Her mother cried nonstop and never spoke of her beloved again. There wasn't much time for grief, anyway. Spears's paltry life insurance money was soon gone, and Zacharias's mother was a high school dropout living in a cramped trailer home in Tennessee with three kids. She put herself through nursing school while working and raising those youngsters. Although Zacharias's brother struggled with drugs and the teenage Zacharias had to have an abortion before realizing getting pregnant wasn't the best way to find reliable love, they all turned out fine eventually. Readers may enjoy Zacharias's mom's trailer park smarts (a woman's best protection is "a good padded bra") and her colorful Southern-isms (her hungover brother was "sicker than a yard dog with scours"). But while Zacharias entertains, her main point—that a soldier's death brings pain and sorrow to many generations of his family—is a sad truth that Americans are beginning to relearn. Photos.
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Zacharias' moving memoir opens in July 1966 with the arrival of a jeep bearing news of her father's death in Vietnam, a loss that affected Karen and her siblings all the way into adulthood. Karen was especially in need of nurturing following her father's death; unfortunately her mother reacted by withdrawing from her children, throwing herself into her work, and acquiring numerous boyfriends. So Karen looked to others for support: a grandfather who soon suffers a stroke; youth leaders at church, who later move away; and a boyfriend who abandons her when she becomes pregnant. After college Karen and her mother resolve their contentious relationship, and soon after, Karen begins to seek out the details of her father's death--details her mother could never face. Zacharias' research leads her to an organization called Sons and Daughters in Touch, which brings together adult children of those killed in Vietnam. Her subsequent 2003 journey with members of the group to the very spot where her father died finally concludes her long and emotional quest. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I don't think I have enough words to express my love for this book. All I can say is everyone needs to read this book! Stunning!Published 2 months ago by Alona Everson
Wonderful book - sad but made me understand more about
what military families go through
Subject matter is very interesting to me because I was also an Army brat. Ms. Zacharias has an engaging style of writing and has a unique perspective of Vietnam.Published 2 months ago by nlh
I had a father and husband who were in Vietnam and happily they came back safely. I really related to the author because that war changed everything in our country. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carol
Have never read a book quite like this. I am a Viet Nam vet and can relate to some of the issues she discusses.Published 3 months ago by gary tenpas
This was a so so story. Not what I thought it was going to be. There were some boring, repetitive chapters.Published 3 months ago by katzrgr8