Prather’s Pick: Memories of a Navy SEAL’s wife
June 16, 2015
Lots of people have read "American Sniper," the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a #1 New York Times bestseller. The Academy Award-winning movie, "American Sniper" was based on the book.
Now Taya Kyle, with Jim DeFelica, has written her memoirs in "American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal." The book is published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins (2015), and it's this week's featured book.
At the very beginning of the book, Taya, Chris Kyle's widow, says that four words from the book's title — love, war, faith, and renewal — "taken together have brought me great joy, though with that joy I have found the deepest sorrow."
The sorrow is introduced in "Preface, The Longest Day." Feb. 2, 2013 began "like a lot of Saturdays" with a basketball game. The Kyle children, Bubba and Angel, were both on the team. The plan after the game was for Taya to take the kids to a friends' house and then later to the mall while Chris and a friend, Chad Littlefield, went to a shooting range. They were going to try to help a veteran who was having trouble getting into civilian life after coming back from Iraq. This was at the request of the veteran's mother.
That was the last time that Taya saw her husband alive.
What follows in the book is some of Taya's memories about her upbringing, how she met Chris, their marriage, and the births of their two children. Chris was a U.S. Navy SEAL, and the deployments took him away from his family. He left for Iraq a few days after their first child, Bubba, was born. On his second deployment, Chris was a sniper for the first time.
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Taya stayed in touch with Chris by emails. Some of them are included in the book. She writes that Chris did not share a lot that happened during deployment. Some information came out while he was writing "American Sniper."
When Chris finally came home for good, times were tough. Taya writes that the deployments had taken their toll on his body. His body was breaking down. His blood pressure was soaring, he had trouble sleeping, and he started drinking. He had to figure out what to do about work, too. He started a business, and then he got an offer from HarperCollins to write a book.
Chris was famous. Their life was good, but then he died. Through it all, Taya has persevered. She is raising their children alone. She has founded the Chris Kyle Frog Fundation in honor of her husband, devoted to strengthening the marriages of veterans and first responders. She's a speaker at various events.
At the end of the book Taya lists lessons that she has learned over two years. Here's one of them: "Real families and real sacrifices live in the fabric of the Red, White, and Blue; stand for the national anthem."
This is a powerful book that will help everyone understand more about the struggles and sometimes even sorrows of veterans and their families.
"American Wife" costs $27.99 in hardcover or you can find the book at the Craig Moffat County Library.