Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel

Phyllis Zimbler Miller‘s novel, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel, takes a unique look at how young men seeking alternatives to the draft opted for Armor Officer’s Basic (AOB) training, while their wives tagged along to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where the training was held.

Unlike many of the other novels and non-fiction books I have read about the Vietnam War, including those examining the politics of the war, this novel sheds light on how wives, especially new wives, deal with the commitments of their husbands to the military. The novel provides a varied examination of how these women–one Jew (Sharon Gold), one Puerto Rican (Donna Lautenberg), one African-American (Wendy Johnson), and one Southern White Woman (Kim Benton)–struggle with their own convictions regarding the war, their husbands’ decisions about their role as soldiers, and how their ethnicity impacts their actions and decisions.

From Sharon’s feelings against the war to Donna’s experiences as an “army brat” turned officer’s wife, this novel takes the reader inside these women’s lives and the emotional roller coaster they experience beginning with Day 1 at Ft. Knox. Whether it is dealing with racial discrimination or anti-semitism or just the basic human need to belong, these women struggle against their own biases to find friendship with one another.

The bond these women create at a turbulent time in history is admirable not only because the bond crosses racial lines, but also because it transcends their own fears about their roles as Mrs. Lieutenants and wives.

The novel also sheds light on the thought processes of army officers’ decisions to either extend their obligations with the army as part of involuntary definite or the regular army.

Miller’s writing technique draws the reader into each character’s plight easily, and it is hard not to be pulled into their triumphs, sorrows, and fears. As a former Mrs. Lieutenant herself, it is not surprising that this novel is emotional. The way in which Miller incorporates elements of actual events into her fictional novel is admirable, and it is wonderful to see excerpts from the manual provided to AOB wives, also called Mrs. Lieutenant by Mary Preston Gross.

Phyllis Zimbler and Mitchell Miller at the Coronation Ball at Michigan State University on Saturday, November 18, 1967, sponsored by the Cadet Officers Club and the Arnold Air Society.

About the Author:

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL. She is a former Mrs. Lieutenant and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

For those interested in supporting today’s American troops, please check out the latest post on the Mrs. Lieutenant blog.

***I’ve got a treat for your tomorrow, Sept. 9, Phyllis Zimbler Miller will provide Savvy Verse & Wit with an inside look at the publishing industry and her decision to select a print-on-demand publisher for her novel. Come back tomorrow to read her insider’s look and enter to win a copy of her novel, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel.

If you have reviewed this novel, please leave me a link in the comments.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric
The Literate Housewife Review
B&B ex libris
Out of the Blue
Fizzy Thoughts
She Is Too Fond of Books