Monday, May 18, 2015

American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle with Jim Defelice

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In early 2013, Taya Kyle and her husband Chris were the happiest they ever had been. Their decade-long marriage had survived years of war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from Taya and their two children for agonizingly long stretches while he put his life on the line in nearly every major battle of the Iraq War. After struggling to readjust to life out of the military, Chris had found new purpose in redirecting his lifelong dedication to service to supporting veterans and their families. Their love had deepened, and, most special of all, their family was whole, finally.

Then, the unthinkable. On February 2, 2013, Chris was killed while attempting to help a troubled vet. The life they fought so hard to build together was shattered. In an instant, Taya became a single parent of two. A widow. A young woman facing the rest of her life without the man she loved.

Chris and Taya’s remarkable story has captivated millions through Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster, Academy Award-nominated film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as Chris and Sienna Miller as Taya, and because of Chris’s bestselling memoir, in which Taya contributed passages that formed the book’s emotional core. Now, with trusted collaborator Jim DeFelice, Taya writes in never-before-told detail about the hours, days, and months after his shocking death when grief threatened to overwhelm her. Then there were wearying battles to protect her husband’s legacy and reputation.

And yet throughout, friendship, family, and a deepening faith were lifelines that sustained her and the kids when the sorrow became too much. Two years after her husband’s death, Taya has found renewed meaning and connection to Chris by advancing their shared mission of “serving those who serve others,” particularly military and first-responder families. She and the children now are embracing a new future, one that honors the past but also looks forward with hope, gratitude, and joy.

my thoughts:

I have to admit that I'm still reading this book.  It arrived early evening on Friday and I wasn't able to start reading until Saturday afternoon.  Normally, I'm a fast reader and would have gobbled this book up in a few hours, but this isn't a book that you devour in one sitting.  Nope, its a book that you take your time reading, so that you can let its truths sink in.  This is Taya Kyle's story about her life, her family, her marriage, her loss, and her strength to move forward.  Married to "The Legend" Chris Kyle (author of American Sniper), Taya suffered a huge tragedy when her husband's life was cut short by the hands of a troubled man ( a fellow marine ) whom he was trying to help.  Chris had come back from his tours of duty a changed man - he struggled to fit in with his family and every day life.  He found that working with other soldiers who had experienced similar struggles was his calling and had begun to do just that.  Unfortunately, he found himself helping a man who was seriously mentally ill and wound up getting killed as a result.  A truly tragic death.

In American Wife, we get to learn about Taya and what happened before and after the death of her beloved husband.  From the preface alone, we can feel the love she had for Chris.  The way she recounts that fateful day and how ordinary it had been.  A typical family attending their kids' sporting event and cheering them on.  Dad heads out to meet up with a friend and the new guy he was going to try and talk with (see if he could recommend some names of places/people who could help him), while Taya was taking the kids to a friend's and the mall.  A normal Saturday.  Stopping by the house on her way to the mall, she runs into her husband packing up his truck for the meeting.  They kiss goodbye and tell each other "I love you."  And then the world turns upside down for Taya and her kids.  I cried when I read about their last day and the information she found out after - like, just how mentally unstable Eddie Routh was that he had already threatened to kill his family and had held up a girlfriend at gunpoint.  Its heartbreaking to read how a man who was attempting to offer his help suffered for his kind actions.  Its awful how quickly someone can be with us one minute and then gone the next.  I couldn't help but think about my best friend who passed away in college.  One night we are talking about decorating our new apartment for the summer and the next morning I'm waking up to the news that she's dead.  It feels surreal one moment and then like a nightmare the next.  I can't even begin to imagine what Taya felt losing her husband to a madman.  Through her book we get to know a strong, independent woman, military wife, mom, daughter, and friend.  I'm more than  halfway through the book and completely engrossed in learning about such a brave and honest woman.  I plan on reading more tonight.

American Wife is a book that I would definitely recommend.  It is a must-read for fans of memoirs and anyone interested in learning more about the Kyle family.  This book offers great insight into the lives of military families and the ups and downs they face; along with a touching account of the love and loss experienced by Taya Kyle and the ways in which she was finally able to move forward with her life.  A truly emotional and heartfelt read. 

Here's the schedule for the TLC Book Tour for: American Wife
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Brandie said...

Every time I read something about Taya and Chris, I can't help but cry. This story is just so heart breaking. I need to read this book. Thanks for sharing, Nadia!

Have you seen the movie? It's incredible. I recommend renting it!

Nadia said...

Brandie, I know what you mean - I feel the same way. Its just such a heartbreaking story. The movie was amazing!!

bermudaonion said...

I usually love memoirs but I'm just not sure about this one.

Ti said...

Not sure I can read this one. I can't bring myself to see the movie either. I bet it's a powerful read but heavy, very heavy.

Nadia said...

Kathy, I can definitely understand your hesitation. Its hard to read about something so tragic.

Ti, I know what you mean. It is a heavy read and I'm definitely crying as I read it. The movie was terrific, but definitely heartbreaking.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I can see why this isn't a book that you'd want to rush through. I can think of quite a few people I want to recommend this book to. Thanks for being a part of the tour.