Sep 8, 2008

Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel

Phyllis Zimbler Miller's novel, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel, takes a unique look at how young men seeking alternatives to the draft opted for Armor Officer's Basic (AOB) training, while their wives tagged along to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where the training was held.

Unlike many of the other novels and non-fiction books I have read about the Vietnam War, including those examining the politics of the war, this novel sheds light on how wives, especially new wives, deal with the commitments of their husbands to the military. The novel provides a varied examination of how these women--one Jew (Sharon Gold), one Puerto Rican (Donna Lautenberg), one African-American (Wendy Johnson), and one Southern White Woman (Kim Benton)--struggle with their own convictions regarding the war, their husbands' decisions about their role as soldiers, and how their ethnicity impacts their actions and decisions.

From Sharon's feelings against the war to Donna's experiences as an "army brat" turned officer's wife, this novel takes the reader inside these women's lives and the emotional roller coaster they experience beginning with Day 1 at Ft. Knox. Whether it is dealing with racial discrimination or anti-semitism or just the basic human need to belong, these women struggle against their own biases to find friendship with one another.

The bond these women create at a turbulent time in history is admirable not only because the bond crosses racial lines, but also because it transcends their own fears about their roles as Mrs. Lieutenants and wives.

The novel also sheds light on the thought processes of army officers' decisions to either extend their obligations with the army as part of involuntary definite or the regular army.

Miller's writing technique draws the reader into each character's plight easily, and it is hard not to be pulled into their triumphs, sorrows, and fears. As a former Mrs. Lieutenant herself, it is not surprising that this novel is emotional. The way in which Miller incorporates elements of actual events into her fictional novel is admirable, and it is wonderful to see excerpts from the manual provided to AOB wives, also called Mrs. Lieutenant by Mary Preston Gross.

Phyllis Zimbler and Mitchell Miller at the Coronation Ball at Michigan State University on Saturday, November 18, 1967, sponsored by the Cadet Officers Club and the Arnold Air Society.

About the Author:

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL. She is a former Mrs. Lieutenant and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

For those interested in supporting today's American troops, please check out the latest post on the Mrs. Lieutenant blog.

***I've got a treat for your tomorrow, Sept. 9, Phyllis Zimbler Miller will provide Savvy Verse & Wit with an inside look at the publishing industry and her decision to select a print-on-demand publisher for her novel. Come back tomorrow to read her insider's look and enter to win a copy of her novel, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel.

If you have reviewed this novel, please leave me a link in the comments.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric
The Literate Housewife Review
B&B ex libris
Out of the Blue
Fizzy Thoughts
She Is Too Fond of Books


Unknown said...

Serena --

Thank you so much for this review. You really zeroed in on a main goal of my writing this novel -- the women learning to overcome their prejudices at a time when this was much less easy to do than it is now.


Serena said...


Thanks for the compliment! I really enjoyed reading this novel.

Anna said...

Great review! Thanks for linking to mine!

--Diary of an Eccentric

Alyce said...

This book is actually on my reading list. It looks fantastic! Your review was great!

The Bookworm said...

great review, it sounds like an interesting read.

Serena said...

Thank you both for stopping by and commenting on this post. I will keep a record of all comments and entries into the contest for the book. I think this will be one of the best contests yet.

windycindy said...

I have learned a lot about military life from my in-laws! Your review is amazing and I enjoyed reading it. I would love to win your book. Thanks, Cindi

Jill said...

This sounds like a great book. It's not often we hear about how Vietnam affected the wives. It must have been hell.

Thanks for sharing this review with us.


Serena said...

look a third entry for you Jill! Good for you!

Darlene said...

Serena, this sounds like a really good novel. I love when an author can draw you into the lives of their characters so that it's almost like you're there. This sounds like a must read even if one doesn't win your contest. Awesome review by the way.

Serena said...

Thanks for entering the contest and the kind words about my review. Phyllis sells her book on Amazon, so if you don't win, I recommend you check it out there.

Suey said...

It seems like I've seen this novel being talked about everywhere, so it's got to be great, right? Thanks for another wonderful review.

Serena said...

This novel has been everywhere on the net. It's really spectacular...and it gives readers a new perspective on the war.