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Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War Hardcover – February 10, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393239365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393239362
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In October 2003, Brian McGough, “a soldier’s soldier,” was hit in the head by an IED (improvised explosive device) in Iraq. Shrapnel entered McGough’s helmet behind his ear, “tearing through the scalp and skull.” Sergeant Kayla Williams of the 101st Airborne Division, author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army (2005), met McGough while also serving in Iraq. After McGough returned stateside, they married. Awarded a Purple Heart, McGough was released from Walter Reed and sent back to duty even though he still had a hole in the back of his skull and was clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this searing and brutally honest memoir, Williams chronicles all that McGough suffered at the hands of his own government and the subsequent long road to recovery. Indeed, Williams’ anger is palpable and justified. “The government that was responsible for sending Brian off to war wasn’t going to take care of us—we had to take care of ourselves.” This is an important book for returning veterans trying to cope with civilian life and those suffering from a traumatic brain injury as well as their loved ones. And it should be required reading for everyone in health care and government agencies. --June Sawyers

Review

“Kayla Williams’s intimate and honest portrayal of marriage after the tragedy of war is a must-read for military spouses, caregivers, and anyone hoping to gain an understanding of the challenges faced by soldiers coming home. Kayla and Brian’s perseverance is a tribute to the power of the human spirit to not only survive but to thrive.” (Marie Tillman, author of The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life and founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation)

“If you think you know the meaning of the word sacrifice, when you read Kayla Williams’s masterful memoir Plenty of Time When We Get Home you will come away with a whole new appreciation for the incredible people who serve our country. Part heartache, hard truth, love story, and an insider’s look at the back end of war, this book offers us a look behind the uniforms and the parades and into the damage of war’s wounds. In the end, it is a story about how love can ultimately heal.” (Lee Woodruff, author of In an Instant and Those We Love Most)

“In her second book, Plenty of Time When We Get Home, Kayla Williams’s raw, honest, and take-no-prisoners prose gives service members and families scarred by war the greatest gift of all—hope.” (Tanya Biank, author of Lifetime TV’s Army Wives and Undaunted: The Real Story of America’s Servicewomen in Today’s Military)

“Ruthlessly raw and objective.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A reminder that the best books… impart a sense of shared experience, and to read them is to participate in humanity.” (Gregg LaGambina, author of The A.V. Club)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Kayla's a great writer.
Sharon A. Robino-west
This is a painful book to read, but such a treasure to remind us of what people go through both in a war zone and when they return home.
C. Fritz
Her book provides a compelling story about the experiences of soldiers as they've quietly returned home from our recent wars.
Jeremy Bellay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mariana Grohowski on February 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a researcher and civilian advocate for veterans and I have read dozens of books about soldiers' military experiences. I read Williams' first book and though I appreciated it and respected her for writing it it wasn't a page turner. However, "plenty of time" is a page turner because Williams' writing and ability to bring together research, facts, and emotion share the stories that aren't being told about soldiers returning from traumatic military experiences. Williams shares such important, illuminating details about the unspoken effects of TBI and PTS, which help make both diagnoses less enigmatic and helped me to better understand these mostly misunderstood / under-researched service-connected "disabilities."

Williams explains the various methods of recovery she and her husband tried as they transitioned out of the military and deployments. All in all, Williams ends up eventually supporting the claim (such as the 2013 Times cover story "Can service save us?") that when one dedicates one's self to issues bigger than one's own personal issues, one feels a sense of importance, purpose, selflessness, and camaraderie that can be actually heal in ways other popular antidotes cannot.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Si Sheppard on February 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Kayla Williams's first book, Love My Rifle More Than You, was an alternately engaging and infuriating but always eye-opening first-person perspective of a woman serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her second book, Plenty Of Time When We Get Home, a sequel of sorts, follows her story upon her return home. With bitter irony, it was here, in suburban America, as far from the front lines as possible, that her trials truly began.

During the course of her deployment in Iraq, Williams met, and shared a mutual attraction with, Sergeant Brian McGough. The first pages of the book recreate in graphic detail the ambush McGough was caught up in after returning from a leave he didn't want to a war he didn't believe in. The ambush left McGough critically wounded with traumatic brain injuries. A decorated veteran, his combat tour was abruptly over. Williams reconnected with him when she returned to the U.S., but his offhand remark while they were both in Iraq - that they could put off consummating their relationship because there was "plenty of time when we get home" - would prove almost fatally optimistic.

Williams leads us deeper into her nightmare of being married to a man who cannot adjust to civilian life - not just because of the shock of transition that all veterans face, or the PTSD that so many experience, but because of the lack of attention paid by an unfeeling and unresponsive system to the needs of a physically and mentally impaired individual who desperately needed intensive assistance. Instead of being welcomed home as a hero, a brave soldier and loyal patriot was essentially left to his own devices or, worse, channeled into irrelevant or even counter-productive treatments.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Webster TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I read Kayla Williams first book ("Love My Rifle More than You") some seven years ago I didn't really like it because I didn't think the story had attained necessary perspective. Reading this book, and seeing some of the maelstrom that was going on around her during the leadup to that book's publication, I can see why - like the line goes, "you can't have PTSD if you're not post-anything yet."

In this deeper account, Williams has earned at least some of that perspective. She can now relate her story with a decade of fairly hard-won experiences, of marriage, motherhood, dealing with her own post-war trauma, and the lingering effects of her husband's brain injury (suffered in Iraq), which is the focal point of most of the book.

As the Iraq War fades from memory, its easy to focus on "heroic" narratives like "Lone Survivor" (which took place in Afghanistan). Conventional combat stories are often easy to read, with clearly defined beginning, middle and ends - familiar characters and standard plot lines. That's not how real life works - the "plenty of time" that Kayla's title describes if full of problems, ups and downs, and constant challenges.

Williams herself isn't the most pleasant narrator, and can be full of herself and self-pitying in the same sentences. She oversimplifies and generalizes. She uses ad hominem attacks against the civilians who she feels don't appreciate the effort of veterans. Her writing style is harsh and blunt, and this is not the kind of memoir that's been crafted sentence-by-sentence in a college workshop class. But, that's an honest portrayal of most veterans - especially the female veterans who she correctly points out often don't get the same credit or attention that male soldiers do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By June on March 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Could not put this book down...Kayla Williams shares the most intimate details of what it's like adjusting to life post deployment and living with someone with TBI and PTSD. A true love story which I hope inspires so many others going through the same thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Fritz on March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was a nurse in Viet Nam and there simply are no words to describe that year taking care of injured and dying young men. I am so grateful to Kayla for putting into words what it is like to try to transition to being back home after a wartime experience. She is one brave lady, and she and her husband have my respect. I wish everyone would read this book Our veterans deserve good care when they come home, and it sounds like so many are not getting what they need. This is a painful book to read, but such a treasure to remind us of what people go through both in a war zone and when they return home. Thanks for sharing even the most personal information with us. I am better for having read this book. I want to remember what others have sacrificed.
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