Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife by Barbara K. McNally
Many people have seen Forrest Gump, American Sniper, or another movie that deals with the topic of war. War and the outcomes that it can have on an individual’s mind and body are certainly no secret in today’s society. In fact, with continued advances in technology and the rise of social media, the violence and tragedy of war are becoming less taboo subjects. Still, for many, the effects of war are something that are seen on the television screen, feared, mourned, and then, slowly, over time, pushed to the back of the mind until they are nearly forgotten. However, some individuals do not have this luxury, some individuals must continue to fear or mourn the effects of war every day for the rest of their lives, and many of these individuals have never left American soil. Barbara K. McNally’s Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife is a collection of stories and insights into the lives of spouses, partners, and families of wounded American warriors. Through these stories McNally touches on everything from suicide to sex drive, giving lives and names to people who sometimes just become statistics. As McNally thoughtfully reveals, partners and spouses of wounded warriors can also become wounded and burdened themselves. As McNally breathes life into the stories of these survivors, two things become clear: the female counterparts of warriors are often expected to become full-time caregivers and out of terrible situations, beautiful things can grow.
I was initially skeptical of Barbara K. McNally’s Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife because of the use of the word ‘wife’ in the title. However, rest assured that McNally includes stories that depict wounded female warriors and wounded husbands, as well as couples with same-sex partners, though there are fewer of these kinds of stories. This one-sidedness is my only criticism of the entire book and it happens simply because there are still so many stories left to be told. McNally taps into a population that has often been pushed to the back and given no place to have a voice, and instead brings them to the front, highlights their bravery, and paints a picture of a world where things may not go as expected, but hope can always be found.
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