When Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, she’s heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.
Matt will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full- blown teenager. Alice will learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt that Alice wears everyday, and the phone calls are never long enough.
I started this book with no great expectations. I’m a military spouse, so I know how the story goes right? Not quite. The story is told from the point of view of a 15 year old girl. Her father is in the Army Reserve. The military is not a basic part of their life. They don’t live in a military town. He finds out he is going to Iraq and understandably so, his family is upset. His wife has a seriously hard time. Alice has to deal with her father being gone while trying to be a normal teenager. Her best friend has suddenly become popular, while her best childhood friend, who happens to be a boy, starts getting feelings for her. She tries to take over the household chores of her father, but her mother doesn’t understand it and that, coupled with other things, puts a strain on their relationship.
She wears her father’s clothes, sits by the phone waiting for it to ring, cherishes his letters, and spends hours in his workshop. All things any spouse would do if their husband was deployed. It’s a little different when it’s your dad though. Going through Alice’s thoughts and seeing how she deals with no one understanding her, and not just in the typical teenage fashion, you can’t help but feel for the girl and all the family goes through.
I read this book pretty fast, considering I had no expectations for it. It ended up being much better than I expected. We all know the ins and outs of the military, but when you are thrown into it from the civilian world, it can be a scary thing. I have friends whose husbands deployed with the National Guard or Reserve. On one hand, they are surrounded by all that is familiar, including family and friends, but on the other, they are thrown into the ultimate scariest thing, which they have little to no knowledge of.
When I was sent the book, it was already registered at Bookcrossing.com. Now all I have to do, is pass the book on. I’ve thought about where to leave it, but can seem to come up with a good place. I’m afraid that someone will just trash it. Any ideas?