I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles

Overview

In this brave, eloquent, and funny memoir, critically acclaimed author Lily Burana writes about love and self-discovery with an honesty few writers would dare.

A former stripper with a penchant for fishnets and anarchist politics, Lily's lacerating wit and rebellious past never would have suggested a marriage into the military. But then she met Major Mike, a Military Intelligence officer and professor at West Point, and fell hopelessly in love, resulting in a most unorthodox ...

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I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War, and Other Battles

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Overview

In this brave, eloquent, and funny memoir, critically acclaimed author Lily Burana writes about love and self-discovery with an honesty few writers would dare.

A former stripper with a penchant for fishnets and anarchist politics, Lily's lacerating wit and rebellious past never would have suggested a marriage into the military. But then she met Major Mike, a Military Intelligence officer and professor at West Point, and fell hopelessly in love, resulting in a most unorthodox fairytale romance - poignant, sometimes painful, and utterly unpredictable.

After Lily and Mike tied the knot, life as an Army wife proved to be a rough adjustment for authority-averse Lily. When Mike was deployed in the War on Terror, Lily was suddenly left to endure his absence alone, with no friends, no support system, and no knowledge of the vast and confusing military world into which she had married.

Upon Mike's return from the war, the couple moved to historic West Point. With the support of the other military wives, Lily worked through the daily struggle to find her way and came to know and love a group of unlikely friends. Together, Mike and Lily suffered through the nightmare of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while Lily suffered bouts of depression that nearly ended their marriage. Through it all, Lily struggled with her preconceptions about the military and coped with being married to a good soldier fighting a brutal war.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In Strip City, talented journalist Lily Burana bid farewell to her career as a fantasy dancer by taking a coast-to-coast journey through the go-go bars of America. In I Love a Man in Uniform, she stays much closer to home but returns with a story no less exotic. The former punk-rock stripper describes how she fell hopelessly, inexplicably in love with Major Mike, a West Point professor and understandably closed-mouth military intelligence officer. The story really begins when Mike is assigned to combat duty in the Middle East while Lily sits stranded at home, rudderless in an essentially alien world. Mike returns with post traumatic stress disorder, adding to the challenges confronted this incongruous couple. This memoir captures the poignancy of a great love suffering from battles half a world away.
Kate Tuttle
Burana can be hilarious…Still, the book shifts easily into more emotional territory as she navigates loneliness and worry when her husband is deployed to the Middle East.
—The Washington Post
J. Courtney Sullivan
The premise sounds like fodder for a Diablo Cody screenplay: A sassy former stripper and anarchist with a penchant for pop-culture references falls in love with a strait-laced soldier and becomes an Army wife. What follows is a humorous, moving and surprising account of married life in today's military.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

A former stripper, Burana (Strip City) married a major in the U.S. Army and records, in this heartfelt though long-winded confessional, her attempts to render their two very different worlds compatible. Burana enjoyed a decidedly checkered past, from "accidental teenage communist" to peep-show girl and stripper in New York and San Francisco (she fondly recalls her Playboy shoot), before meeting "Major Mike" at a ceremony in a Brooklyn cemetery in 2000. She was attracted by his sense of order and honor, even charmed by his military jargon, while he admired her rebelliousness, though these same qualities would challenge their relationship over time. Living together in a condo near Fort Meade, Fla., where Mike was stationed, segued into a quick marriage (she called herself a "War on Terror" bride), before he was deployed to Iraq for six months in 2003, creating for her a painful personal trial of waiting and self-discipline. Their move to West Point underscored her new role as military wife, and she embarked on a gloomy, unstable period of psychological turmoil requiring therapy and medication for her own brand of post-traumatic stress disorder. Marriage counseling worked for them, bucking the high divorce rate within the armed forces, and Burana concludes her memoir on a positive note, having made peace with the army's fallibility and found her own place in it. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist and ex-stripper marries a career Army officer..After a chance meeting and whirlwind romance, Burana (Try, 2006, etc.) married Mike, a major in the U.S. Army. Though they were an odd couple—a former exotic dancer who wrote a bestselling book about her adventures (Strip City, 2001) and an all-American hero who devoted his life to the military—Burana willingly joined the sisterhood of women whose husbands serve their country in uniform. She learned what this meant when Mike was deployed to the Middle East as the Iraq War began. She coped with the fear and loneliness that accompany having a loved one in harm's way. She was awed, and intimidated, by the way other military wives kept home and hearth together. She was confused when Mike returned from duty different. On to West Point, whose arcane rituals and rules, both written and unwritten, Burana describes in hilarious detail. Despite her unorthodox—and what she feared some would see as sordid—past, she found peace among the soldiers and spouses of West Point. Until, following her father's death, depression hit her like a guided missile. Then the marriage that had sustained her began to suffocate her; the life of an Army spouse that had challenged and bemused, now terrified; and all she wanted was a way out. She left Mike and embarked on a battle to understand the posttraumatic stress that afflicted her and the memories of childhood abuse at the hands of a babysitter that haunted her. Mike learned he could not fix Burana, as was his Army can-do inclination, but could only love her. After many struggles, achingly delineated in beautiful prose, they reconciled and resumed their life at the Academy. Moved by the kindness andunderstanding other Army wives showed her, Burana determined to repay their kindness. How she did so was appropriately outrageous—and too funny an ending to give away..One of those rare memoirs that both teach and make us laugh..Author tour to New York, Washington, D.C., Denver, Colorado Springs, Portland, Ore., Seattle. Agent: Tina Bennett/Janklow & Nesbit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602860834
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

LILY BURANA is the author of the acclaimed memoir Strip City and the novel Try. Her writing about the domestic side of military affairs has been published in the New York Times Op-Ed pages and Slate. Other features and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Glamour, Self, The New York Observer, The Village Voice, Slate, Entertainment Weekly, Salon, and many other publications. She has been a Contributing Editor at New York Magazine and SPIN.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book

    I loved this book. It is well written, full of emotion and a great insight into military wives world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny, Smart, & Irreverent!

    I woke my husband with this literary hat-trick:
    1) laughing out loud
    while
    2)blowing nose & wiping tears
    and
    3)ordering copies for my sister and friends.

    'nuff said!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Intense, heartfelt and genuine

    Lily Burana: reformed punk rocker, child rebel, former stripper, Army Officer's wife. Wha-what??? If you are like me, you just had to do a double take there. But that's right Lily Burana is all of those things and more.

    I Love a Man in Uniform is Lily's memoir of how she met, fell in love with and married Mike, her Army Officer husband.

    But this is not simply a love story. This is not one of those gooey novels that make you feel sticky just reading it. This story includes a lot of self doubt, hurt, anger, sacrifice and loss.

    Lily and Mike's story is like so many others. But what separates them is that Lily talks about it. She talks about the uncertainty of being a 'war bride.' She reveals the struggles with depression during deployment. She dives head first into the controversial topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    Lily never planned to marry a soldier. In fact, the day she met Mike she had no idea that was the moment that would change her life forever. But when love hits, it hits hard. There's no stopping it. That's exactly what happened to Lily and Mike.

    In true military fashion, the courtship and marriage were on no one's time line but the military's. However, Lily would endure for the man she chose as her life's partner. She gave up her home, her security, her dream wedding, her confidence. Just to be married to Mike.

    Lily has a voice that is raw, real and emotional. She leaves nothing out. She describes the scathing looks and criticism she faced from the 'higher ranking wives.' She offers a glimpse into the truth behind the 'perfect military family.' And she constantly runs from the 'Perfect Army Wife' and her never ending disapproval.

    Through it all - the condemnation, depression, deployment and self hatred there is finally a chance for healing, acceptance and ultimately...happiness.

    Lily's story is one that so many military spouses experience but very few are brave enough to admit. She is honest, revealing, heartfelt and genuine. This book offers merely a glimpse into the difficulties military spouses face on a day to day basis.

    That being said, I realize that I cannot truly generalize. I identified with this woman so much that her story and hardships resonate within my soul. So maybe I'm wrong. Maybe other military spouses do not experience these same issues. But I have. I do. As have several of my closest military spouse friends. Do you? I challenge you to read Lily's story and find out.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Compelling and Enlightening

    Lily Burana's I LOVE A MAN IN UNIFORM is at times heartbreaking and irreverent, but it is always compelling. Burana recounts extraordinary upheaval-- finding her soldier-love-of-her-life only to have him deploy a few months after they are married, moving to the bucolic and often too apple-pie perfect world of the Unites States Military Academy at West Point, her father's illness and death, her separation from her husband and the attempts to heal their marriage (and herself) with therapy. All of this with flashbacks of her earlier life, childhood trauma and a history as a stripper, show how the past will follow you no matter how seemingly perfect your present becomes.
    Burana manages to deftly examine the intricacies of marriage, as well as the sometimes contradictory place of the Unites States Army in the modern world, with humor and stiletto-tipped wit. The reader peeks behind the stony "Army-strong" facade, and sees everything from how some military spouses sum up the worthiness of their peers according to their husbands' accolades, to the effects of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" within the ranks. An enlightening memoir for all readers, civilians and military alike.

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