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The Wives: A Memoir Bets On...

The Wives: A Memoir

April 2024

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a pre-publication lunch and talking to Simone Gorrindo about THE WIVES. At the time, I had heard about the book but had not read a word of it. I enjoyed our conversation, and when I was reading it, I found Simone’s voice on the page to be as honest and engaging as she had been in person. I started off listening to the audiobook; I always love it when an author reads his or her memoir. I later picked up the book as I can read faster than I listen.

There are so many moments that I loved here, but what Simone wrote so well is about the camaraderie among these women, all of whom were united by one common thread --- they were the wives of men in combat or training for combat.

Simone tackles the first tough issue when her husband (then her boyfriend) shares in couples therapy that if he had to choose between the Army and her, he would choose the Army. Talk about a tough conversation. Simone was a committed pacifist who had a job she loved, and this all was counter to what she was raised on. But she loved Andrew.

Thus, a short time later, they are married and on their way to Columbus, Georgia (as Simone says, not the Columbus in Ohio). They rent a house there, and it isn’t long before Andrew leaves for training. Simone, who most recently had lived in New York City, found herself in a place where she would need to drive, but she did not have a driver’s license yet.

What she did have was a group of women whose husbands were also deployed. One of them showed up one night with a bottle of wine, and that was the start of her interaction with the wives. Actually, wait, there was the wife across the street who was so happy that Simone and Andrew had come to town that she all but unpacked for them. The wives were the ones who checked in on one another, watched each other’s children, and had a thread woven between them that was held tight until the men came home safely. They did not know where their husbands were or had been. They were different ages and came from different socioeconomic backgrounds. But being the wives was what bound them together.

I learned a lot from this book --- not just about the wives, but also about the Army. Deployments do not always happen in times of war. They are often part of peacekeeping. Training is ongoing. And nothing is set in stone for deployment or training times; it’s quite random. Wives think about being pregnant when their husbands are away, so they can be there when their children are born. Lives are complicated and uncertain. These women have their own version of grit; it’s not just “stand by your man.”

At a time when Kristin Hannah has written about THE WOMEN of Vietnam, I embraced the opportunity to turn to THE WIVES to hear another story about women in the face of war, albeit stationed stateside and not in active combat. I interviewed Simone recently, so be sure to check out the video or podcast of our conversation.

The Wives: A Memoir
by Simone Gorrindo

  • Publication Date: April 9, 2024
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
  • ISBN-10: 1982178493
  • ISBN-13: 9781982178499