cover image War Flower: My Life After Iraq

War Flower: My Life After Iraq

Brooke King. Potomac, $28.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-64012-118-8

In a searing and moving memoir, King recounts her service in Iraq, her life after Iraq, and the war’s lasting effects on her. Deploying in 2006 as a wheeled-vehicle mechanic in the U.S. Army, the 19-year-old King’s duties included recovering vehicles hit by explosives and “bagging and tagging” the mangled corpses of those who died in them. She recounts the way the U.S. Armed Forces interacted with Iraqis: “We carried out our missions the way we saw fit... raiding houses, trashing rooms, desecrating prayer rugs and kicking over shrines of Muhammad.” The soldiers treated all Iraqis, including children, as potential terrorists, she writes. Once home and pregnant with twins, King suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which she tried to hide from her family. Interwoven are flashbacks to her childhood, her abusive and short-lived first marriage, her wartime affair with the father of her twin boys, and the ways the war has affected her relationship with her sons (they learned early not to play with the knives she carried in her purse). As she reflects on the many ways she brought the war home with her, King reveals the unique burdens borne by female veterans as they reintegrate into a society that seems oblivious to all they’ve been through. This is a harrowing and powerful book.[em] (Mar.) [/em]