Intro to Army Life: A Handbook for Spouses and Significant Others Entering the Army Lifestyle
by Allison Mewes
In full disclosure, I had my reservations about this book. I am the first one to admit that I do NOT know everything about the Army, but after almost 11 years, I know enough to get me by. I had very high expectations and, at first, was very skeptical and was almost waiting for false information. I am happy to report that I was extremely impressed by the factual information it had to offer.
Every Army wife has different experience. Bottom line, you'll never be able to make a broad generalization about them. The location, rank, and job of the soldier gives each Army Wife an experience that is uniquely hers.
This book doesn't try to generalize, but instead gives great tips and information about how to make your life, especially during deployment, a little less stressful. Complete with rank charts and her own compilation of the 25 most important Acronyms, it is easily maneuvered and simple enough for anyone to understand.
There was only one area that I did not fully agree with the author, and no military spouse ever can. Fraternization. Although the military has rules and regulation regarding the fraternization of the soldiers, the spouses are left on their own to either do what their soldier tells them, or form a system that works for their family. On page 56, the author states
"The same rule for soldiers applies somewhat to spouses. It is assumed that spouses of higher-ranking military personnel will know things that shouldn't be told to spouses of lower-ranking military personnel and therefore shouldn't communicate on a social level. There is no hard and fast rule on this, but it is something to be aware of. Again, since families of Reserve or National Guard soldiers live off base, the socialization rules are not as strictly enforced."
Like stated before, you will never be able to please every Army Wife, but even my husband was a little thrown by this statement. No matter your soldier's rank, if it isn't public knowledge, it shouldn't be shared with your spouse. When my hubby was enlisted, I always had a wide array of Army Wife friends who's spouses ranged from E-1 to O-5. I met all of these women through the FRG because I kept the mindset that you can't make a difference, or complain, if you don't participate. Even after the hubby went to "the dark side" and became an Officer, the variance has stayed the same. Also, it gives the appearance that most active duty families live on post. In the decade the hubby and I have been married, we've only lived on post for one year. It is truly a game of chance, when PCSing to a new location, if housing is readily available. Most posts have up to an 18 month waiting list for housing, therefore many soldiers live off post.
One paragraph in 172 pages, that's pretty darn fantastic!
I definitely recommend this book to any new spouses to the Army! There are great resources and interesting facts. This would be a great bridal gift, or gift for a spouse with only a few months or years of experience.
As the back cover states "[this book] gives you the tools and resources necessary to make you transition into the Army lifestyle easier, less stressful and more fun."
I also want to point out this that book is available in paperback, on Kindle, and Nook. I personally purchased it for my Kindle because I was so impressed with the resources that are valuable to every Army spouse.
*I was sent this book for review by the publisher, no other compensation was given*
*I plan on passing the book along to my soon-to-be SIL as she makes her transition to Army Wife!*