Books You Should Definitely Read

For the past fifteen years, the US has been engaged in military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For many of us, these wars are something we watch on television.  Because we rely on volunteers, most of the nation has no direct contact with the violence or its aftermath when soldiers return home.

Learning to Stay by Erin Celello, who teaches writing at UW-Whitewater, is about a couple who deal with what happens when a soldier comes home to his wife, when her expectations are that now she can have a baby and his reality is that the war rages on his addled brain.

The book is as compelling as a mystery novel:  when will she figure out what’s going on, when will he act out again and how, will they resolve this crisis or break apart, and who will show them how to be together again?

We can think the wars this country engages in are not really relevant to our lives, but these men and women who volunteered or who were called up, who have returned damaged physically and mentally, deserve our help and respect.  Ms. Celello has given us a window into that world and also concrete suggestions for how to help.  Brava.


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