Book Review – Rule Number Two

Posted by on Jan 29, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Last week a little book appeared on the table at our house.  My dad brought it home as someone had given it to him to read.  He started reading it and frequently could be seen wiping his eyes (I know that might sound strange if you grew up with a stoic male figure who was too macho to shed a tear or show any kind of emotion other than outrage, but it sounds normal in this house.  My dad is a warrior who drinks deeply of life.  He is not afraid of feeling.  He is not afraid of what saying tough things may do.  He was never afraid of doing the hard thing.  He frequently had to. He never saw rolling around in the floor with his kids as unmanly.  He never thought of us as people to control. He didn’t hide his feelings so that we would have some unrealistic picture of manhood.  He is real.  He is genuine.  He is not afraid to grieve.  He will boldly tell you his opinion.  He will take control when he must. He will listen and empathize.  He will attempt to solve the problem.  He’ll be 100% himself and he won’t be ashamed of it.  [It’s no wonder people love to sit under his teaching or come to him for some counsel.  He’s the man.]). 

The cover has a picture of two soldiers, one male and one female sitting on folding chairs and the male looks despondent. It’s an okay photo, but probably not one that would’ve pulled me toward it in a store.  My dad’s reaction to the book did.

As soon as he was finished, I picked it up and devoured it in about 24 hours. It was very good.

Rule Number Two is the story of a female Navy Psych Doc, Lt. Commander Heidi Squier Kraft, who deployed with Marines to Iraq.  Her Marine husband and her parents were in Florida caring for her fifteen month old twins while she served at Al Asad. There are thousands and thousands of people who have deployed there, but I’m guessing only a handful can tell a story like she can. The book covers the time from when she first received her orders through her return and adjustment back to life in the States. It’s a terrifying, heart-wrenching, inspiring tale of how our men and women are making it through this war. 

I should tell you that I have a tremendous soft spot for war stories and for our military in general.  That father I was telling you about up top served in the USAF for 26 years.  The families of our military personnel have unique perspectives on military service and military life. Obviously there is a spectrum of good and bad that comes with it, but from where I sit, the good has always vastly out weighed the bad.  Seeing deployment through the eyes of Dr. Kraft, through the eyes of a woman, through the eyes of a mother, allowed me to identify with the experience in a way I never have before.  Band of Brothers is a tremendous book, but after all it is just that; a group of men with whom I can travel but never truly join. Dr. Kraft’s experiences, on the other hand, are uniquely feminine, though not at all girlie.  She is warm.  She is strong. She is not afraid to show emotion but loses the ability to do so and struggles to regain it.  She lets you enter into her nightmares and shows you the way she must compartmentalize her life in order to her job. Though she obviously is selective in her writing, she doesn’t shy away from that which is difficult or even that which may show weakness. Her honesty weaves the tapestry of complexity in thought and emotion so breathtakingly that the moments of greatest joy and deepest sorrow blend into a masterpiece to which I will do injustice should I attempt to describe. 

What I can say is ‘You should pick up a copy today’ and ‘Thank you, Dr. Kraft.’

One Comment

  1. And now everyone knows why I married that wonderful man you call Dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *