Almost Forever is a book written by Maria Testa.
I love this book. It is a remembrance stone in the wall of my life, though I did not experience this particular situation, others in my childhood came flooding back. The way it is written is so authentic to a child’s eye view , the thinking that kids do in the privacy of thier own hearts.
The book is written in the perspective of a 6 year old girl in 1967, as she and her brother experience the deployment of their father to Vietnam. The father, a medic, copes with his connection to family, as the family at home works to stay afloat. My experience as a military mom and grandma, allows me to say that this is a powerful, authentic, though short read, and the realities are all there.
As a child of divorce at this very age, I found myself again able to recall vividly the experience of a fatherless home, and the lonely ,unstable feel of it.
The mother in this book, like my own did, works hard to make it all work. I cannot give away the part that wretched my heart most, but then perhaps it would be different for others anyway. There are places where you think you know what is happening, to be surprised that you were wrong.
Written in a prose, the language is stark and powerful. There is no overt political commentary, but only what a 6 year old might pick up from what she sees around her. At a park and her mother comments ” lucky kids, I wonder if they even know anybody in Vietnam.” You know they are protesters, but it is not said. The ending is one you will not soon forget.
The child’s eye view is so much more complex than people know. This book is universal , about life, and how we figure out what to do next when we don’t know what to do next. If you want to get a glimpse of the heart of a Military child, a read of Almost Forever, is well worth your time.
You will know even more clearly why we say We Serve Too!