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I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
A former stripper, Burana (Strip City) married a major in the U.S. Army and records, in this heartfelt though long-winded confessional, her attempts to render their two very different worlds compatible. Burana enjoyed a decidedly checkered past, from accidental teenage communist to peep-show girl and stripper in New York and San Francisco (she fondly recalls her Playboy shoot), before meeting Major Mike at a ceremony in a Brooklyn cemetery in 2000. She was attracted by his sense of order and honor, even charmed by his military jargon, while he admired her rebelliousness, though these same qualities would challenge their relationship over time. Living together in a condo near Fort Meade, Fla., where Mike was stationed, segued into a quick marriage (she called herself a War on Terror bride), before he was deployed to Iraq for six months in 2003, creating for her a painful personal trial of waiting and self-discipline. Their move to West Point underscored her new role as military wife, and she embarked on a gloomy, unstable period of psychological turmoil requiring therapy and medication for her own brand of post-traumatic stress disorder. Marriage counseling worked for them, bucking the high divorce rate within the armed forces, and Burana concludes her memoir on a positive note, having made peace with the army's fallibility and found her own place in it. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* What’s a woman like me doing in a place like this? That’s the question former punk-rock stripper and Playboy pinup Burana ponders many times after marrying Major Mike, a military intelligence officer and professor at West Point. This disarming memoir recounts the couple’s unlikely courtship (they met in a cemetery) and Burana’s perpetually arduous adjustment to life as a military wife. The challenges for the two came hard and fast. Seemingly moments after they were married, Mike was deployed to Iraq. Burana found herself lonely and alone, living among women who baked cookies, coddled toddlers, and generally toed the line. Mike returned from war quiet and withdrawn, but soon everything was fine again—or so they thought. Then Mike started feeling the effects of his harrowing ordeals overseas just as Burana began grappling with memories of an abusive childhood. The emotional battles they faced nearly brought them down, but the two soldiered on, determined to repair lives fractured by a brutal war and a painful past. Burana (Strip City, 2001) writes with bracing honesty and wit. Of keeping company with West Point wives, she writes: “Mostly . . . it seemed to me like a supportive sorority. But sometimes, it was like Mean Girls with lawn ornaments.” --Allison Block
Top customer reviews
I voraciously read ILAMU in two days. My copy is dog-eared and underlined, with notes scribbled in the margins, a testament to my level of engagement with it. This book is going on my bookshelf with other much-loved volumes.
Marna A. Krajeski, author
HOUSEHOLD BAGGAGE: THE MOVING LIFE OF A MILITARY WIFE
I Love a Man in Uniform is Lily's memoir of how she met, fell in love with and married Mike, her Army Officer husband.
But this is not simply a love story. This is not one of those gooey novels that make you feel sticky just reading it. This story includes a lot of self doubt, hurt, anger, sacrifice and loss.
Lily and Mike's story is like so many others. But what separates them is that Lily talks about it. She talks about the uncertainty of being a 'war bride.' She reveals the struggles with depression during deployment. She dives head first into the controversial topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Lily never planned to marry a soldier. In fact, the day she met Mike she had no idea that was the moment that would change her life forever. But when love hits, it hits hard. There's no stopping it. That's exactly what happened to Lily and Mike.
In true military fashion, the courtship and marriage were on no one's time line but the military's. However, Lily would endure for the man she chose as her life's partner. She gave up her home, her security, her dream wedding, her confidence. Just to be married to Mike.
Lily has a voice that is raw, real and emotional. She leaves nothing out. She describes the scathing looks and criticism she faced from the 'higher ranking wives.' She offers a glimpse into the truth behind the 'perfect military family.' And she constantly runs from the 'Perfect Army Wife' and her never ending disapproval.
Through it all - the condemnation, depression, deployment and self hatred there is finally a chance for healing, acceptance and ultimately...happiness.
Lily's story is one that so many military spouses experience but very few are brave enough to admit. She is honest, revealing, heartfelt and genuine. This book offers merely a glimpse into the difficulties military spouses face on a day to day basis.
That being said, I realize that I cannot truly generalize. I identified with this woman so much that her story and hardships resonate within my soul. So maybe I'm wrong. Maybe other military spouses do not experience these same issues. But I have. I do. As have several of my closest military spouse friends. Do you? I challenge you to read Lily's story and find out.
This is a book that combines a self-fellating walrus and a stripper with hemorrhoids with a serious exploration of mental health issues and an Army insider's admission of why Abu Ghraib is a disaster for America and the world. Burana tackles every subject with a fresh, sassy voice backed by a serious sense of honor. The result is a surprising, touching tribute to both marriage and the Army, compelling even to an old anti-military-establishment cynic like me.