“Soldier On” is a fiction book by local author Vanessa Rasanen. The book tells the story of a soldier serving overseas and the relationship with his wife.
In the beginning of the book, Rasanen uses a lot of vivid words. This makes me wonder whether this is her everyday talk or an author’s way of writing to grab the reader’s attention as they eventually dissipate.
The overall content of the book was good. The profanity that was used throughout the book, however, was not appreciated. You can write in a way without using profanity and the book can be just as effective.
The characters do run to alcohol when they are depressed, which is not a very good testimony for the faith that is mentioned.
The first half of the book was sort of boring but builds in intensity as a tragedy strikes, making one of the main characters’ world fall apart.
Rasanen describes what a wife goes through in deployment very well. You cannot know what that is unless you yourself are military.
The author gives great examples how not trusting in others in time of need even when it seems scary or perhaps the fear of placing a burden on others can get so complicated in life. Doing so, can cause mistrust with the others or strain relationships. The effects of this can bring much stress and depression as is mentioned. Also, not relying on God to help you through the trial of life you are in can be a hindrance to your life spiritually.
Rasanen illustrates a tragedy so well in one area of the book that it makes the reader seem like they are a part of it, which is what one is supposed to do when writing. She shows the character’s emotions and what that character experiences after that tragedy. Which is what happens in the real world of military life but because you are not actually there literally, you can’t understand how it can totally change a person. What someone experiences in the light of war can only be understood through their eyes and mind. This can lead to a changed outlook on life.
Charlie Winters is the soldier who is sent overseas to a different country. His wife, Meg, stays home but they both struggle with relationship issues. Meg struggles the most as she hides past secrets and is unsure of trusting her husband and her closest friend, Piper. Meg gets to the point where she becomes very insecure and runs from the help of her church family and friends. She is so focused on herself that she does not see the hurt she is causing others around her. Will their relationship become stronger or die?
“Deployments had this power — over both soldier and spouse. The separation upped the sentimentality, pushing people to voice things that never quite fit into conversations back home.”
Rasanen wrote the book for several reasons. “Partly to give some glimpse into the life of a military couple, but more so to reach out to those who have, on some level, been hit by similar pangs of doubt or worry like Meg. I hoped to highlight how we serve one another in multiple roles, and even if we don’t know what to say, simply trying can do a lot.” She did an excellent job with this area and what some couples may struggle with being apart for so long.
She started writing this book five years ago, “…at that time we knew a deployment could happen at any time. By the time I was finishing it up and set to publish, we knew he’d be leaving mere months after it launched.” Deployments in the military life are not easy. They are very challenging and hard on the families that must go through these. I know this from personal experience as my dad is retired and was sent overseas several times.
Some of the book was based on real-life experiences and others were the author’s own. Example, “The monkey on the motorcycle was from a picture my husband took on his last deployment.” These can be the best illustrations in writing.
Some may wonder if the book was written in any way that the author herself can place her life like Meg’s character and if it has helped her in any way. “I think it’s helped me remember that God’s peace doesn’t always come in the way I demand, but in His timing. I’m quite different from Meg in that I’m more of an open book than she is, but her story is still a good reminder to me to trust those God has placed in my life.” Well said.
If you or someone you know is looking for a glimpse of what a military wife could experience, this is the book for you. I do not agree with everything that the author has written as was noted but in the end it was worth the time to read.