“Behind the Blue-Star Banner” Review
While I used to be an avid reader, now I do most of my reading in the form of blogs and internet articles. I generally only read two or three books a year. But when I picked up Behind the Blue-Star Banner by Michelle Cuthrell, I couldn’t put it down! I read the whole book in seven hours.
I have read several books written by military wives, for military wives. I have found each one helpful in its own way, but Michelle’s book was the first that I related to in almost every aspect. Michelle, like myself, was a newly married, active duty Army wife and (later on in the book) brand new mother. Her husband, like mine, was a soldier in a deployed infantry battalion. When I got done reading the book, I handed it to my mother with these words: If you want to know what I experience because of this Army life on a daily basis, and the emotions I feel about this deployment, you need to read this book!
“Michelle Cuthrell was 23 years old, 9 months out of college, and 11 weeks pregnant with her first child when her husband deployed to Iraq in August, 2005,” reads the back cover of Behind the Blue-Star Banner.
Michelle’s book is a compilation of excerpts from her weekly column, “Until They All Come Home”, which was published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, personal emails that were distributed to her family while her husband was deployed, and finally her accounts of her struggles as a military wife. The book shares the story of her and her husband’s relationship throughout their dating, engagement, and newlywed times, military separations through training and deployment phases, and the pregnancy and birth of their first child.
Her book is genuine, transparent, and honest. She doesn’t sugar-coat the difficulties of military life, nor does she hide her struggles in how she responded (both right and wrong) to her husband’s deployment and extension. She also candidly discusses the difficult emotions that she felt with the casualties their unit experienced. I found her accounts to be realistic, as well as heartwarming and humorous. I laughed with her and I cried with her.
The strongest message I gained from the book was the importance of having a positive attitude, making the most of your circumstances, and having a strong dependence on God during trials. “…that there’s not just light at the end of the tunnel, but all through it.” (pg. 193) Michelle’s faith, while sometimes faltering, can clearly be seen through the course of the book.
After I finished reading Behind the Blue-Star Banner, I was ecstatic to learn that Michelle Cuthrell and I are at the same duty station. I connected with her on Facebook, and we met for coffee a few weeks later. She is a very REAL person, who has a heart to minister to military wives. We talked about my struggles with deployment and my anxiety about my husband’s upcoming R&R and reintegration. She was very reassuring and gave me great advice while still being a listening ear.
I know that above all, she would want anyone who reads this to know that all of her success is only the result of God’s hands working in and through her life. She has only been able to thrive as a military wife because of HIS strength.
I encourage every military wife, especially those with deployed husbands, to read Behind the Blue-Star Banner! And if you ever get a chance to hear Michelle Cuthrell speak, you won’t regret it. You can learn more about Michelle, buy her book, or contact her through her website: http://www.behindthebluestarbanner.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aprille has had the privilege of being a military girlfriend, fiancee, and wife of 3 years. Her husband is currently on his second deployment to Afghanistan. Aprille is a stay-at-home wife and mom staying busy on the homefront raising their 11-month-old baby Ezra. You can check out her music website at http://songoftherose.synthasite.com/ and her personal blog and photography website at http://www.beautifulinhistime.com/blog.php