Title: American Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith, and Renewal
Author: Taya Kyle
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Release Date: May 4, 2015
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
The widow of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle shares their private story: an unforgettable testament to the power of love and faith in the face of war and unimaginable loss—and a moving tribute to a man whose true heroism ran even deeper than the legend
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 many major battles 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 toward supporting veterans and their families. Their love had deepened, and their family was whole, finally.
Then, the unthinkable. On February 2, 2013, Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed while attempting to help a troubled vet. The life Chris and Taya fought so hard to build 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-winning 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 Chris's shocking death when grief threatened to overwhelm her.
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 tragic 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 are now embracing a new future, one that honors the past but also looks forward with hope, gratitude, and joy.
American Wife is one of the most remarkable memoirs of the year—a universal chronicle of love and heartbreak, service and sacrifice, faith and purpose that will inspire every reader.
This has to be far and away the most difficult review that I have ever written. I've always tried to challenge myself as a reader, so I decided to go outside of my normal reading zone and read American Wife. I do like the occasional memoir because it's so fascinating to learn about someone's life. To an extent, seeing into Taya Kyle's life was no different - she's an interesting lady. However, the difficulty in reviewing American Wife comes with disagreeing with the book without seeming to attack the author, who it is about.
The good parts of American Wife were her normal, every day experiences that she recounts early in the book. I enjoyed reading about her courtship, marriage, children, and marital discord because it really humanized her. But speaking of humanizing, I was bothered by the way that she described what Chris did for a living. It was very jarring to hear her describe the people Chris killed as "targets" and whatnot because never once did she ever refer to them as people. Don't get me wrong - I appreciate being able to feel this way because of what our military does for us. That being said, human life is human life, and I have a lot of opinions about how we treat others, especially those on the other side, nowadays.
Another thing that really bothered me about American Wife is Taya and her daughter's supernatural connection with Chris after his death. I mean, I'm all for dealing with loss whichever way helps, but it didn't really seem to fit with the earlier parts of the book. I know that life doesn't fit into a box, but the book got weird. If American Wife would have been fiction, I would have had a lot more to say about it.
I thought American Wife was a good read for the first two-thirds, but the later parts were just a little too far out there for me. I think if I read more military history or memoirs in the future, I'll do a little more research to find something a little less...callous. For the sake of fairness, my fiancé is a huge fan of both Kyles and the book. He just refuses to review.
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About the Author
Taya Kyle founded the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation in honor of her late husband Chris Kyle, legendary U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the bestsellers American Sniper and American Gun. The foundation is devoted to strengthening the marriages of veterans and first responders. An active public speaker, Taya Kyle makes frequent appearances at fund-raisers and other events, inspiring others to find strength and persevere through struggles.
She and her two children live in Texas.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.