LONELY GIRLS WITH BURNING EYES: A Wife Recalls Her Husband's Journey Home from Vietnam by Marian Fsye Novak

LONELY GIRLS WITH BURNING EYES: A Wife Recalls Her Husband's Journey Home from Vietnam

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A deeply affecting account of life as the wife of a Vietnam veteran--by a Boston woman, mother of four. Growing up, David Novak had always wanted to be a soldier. After college, armed with a math degree, he traveled with his new bride, Marian, from Washington State to the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base to attend officer's training school. His somewhat more sophisticated but love-besotted wife worked hard at adjusting to the military life--not an easy task in 1966, as parents and friends turned surprisingly hostile to anyone ""foolish"" enough to volunteer for Vietnam. For support, Marian befriended other Marine wives, who shared her fears for her husband's future and her own. Still, she remained unprepared for the almost universal condemnation once David was shipped overseas. Now pregnant, and uncertain whether her child would ever see its father, Marian faced outsiders' disgust and verbal abuse with incomprehension, increasing bitterness, and, finally, self-isolation. When her husband did return, it was to an indifferent welcome from his fellow citizens and, at best, polite silence in the face of his ordeal. Disillusioned, David quit the Marines, but the silence in which he bore his memories of 1968 (the ""summer of love"") took its toll--he suffered a virtual breakdown more than a decade later. Novak's account of that difficult time in America, while occasionally humorless and deliberately willful (""I did not blame the NVA or the Viet Cong,"" she writes. "". . .My enemies passed me in the aisles of the stores downtown. . .""), succeeds in engaging the reader through a wealth of vivid, commonplace detail and the author's sheer determination to tell her tale. A cathartic work--superlatively written.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1990
Publisher: Little, Brown