Shelley's Reviews > GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love

GI Brides by Duncan Barrett
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2016, history

The story of four English women who met and married American GIs in WW2 and what happened after the war ended and they were married to men they barely knew. I have mixed feelings on this--it was compulsively readable, and I loved all four women (one of whom turned out to be an author's grandmother). They authors interviewed many women about their experiences (more women are featured on http://www.gibrides.com), and they specifically chose these four as overcoming challenges. But I wish they had picked one happier story--the idea you get from this book reinforces the idea that these relationships were terrible and doomed, but they themselves said that the inflated divorce rate stat was a lie. I mean, of course it was difficult for most if not all families--the women were young and traumatized from years of war and bombings in their towns, the men were traumatized from combat, neither knew each other, the women lost everything they knew, etc etc. But surely not all GIs were as terrible as the ones here? (Not that all were--Ben was a dream, for example, even with his flaws.)

Honestly, the whole book portrayed GIs in a mostly negative light (I really hated a lot of them, such assholes even in war). Which I'm sure is accurate. But I would have liked some happy endings. Surely some women they met had one, or at least more typical relationships. I thought one in here had one, but then polio got involved.

All of this sounds negative, but I really did enjoy the book greatly, enough that I suspect I'll buy it. These were amazing women, and I'm glad to have "met" them. I'm glad they found happiness with GI Bride groups, if not exactly how they thought they would. It's a very honest account of difficult times, and a good balance to other stories about the Greatest Generation.
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Reading Progress

September 17, 2014 – Shelved
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
April 23, 2016 – Started Reading
April 23, 2016 – Finished Reading
April 24, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016
April 24, 2016 – Shelved as: history

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy My grandparents were in this situation! And they had a wonderful life together. :) But my grandmother does say that some of her friends ended up divorcing and/or going home.


Shelley How cool! I'm sure there were a ton of challenges involved, and it doesn't surprise me that brides went home. But that was almost presented as the only way in this book, which is sad. I'm sure there were more awesome couples like your grandparents who had better experiences!


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