Plot/Idea: The author offers up an intimate and soul-searching exploration of her time as an "MRC," spent counseling soldiers while grappling with her own challenges. Her story is rich and introspective as she reconciles her preconceptions with eye-opening encounters and circumstances.
Prose: Hicks's prose is candid, straightforward, and immediately engrossing. Her self-reflection and insights into human nature, belief systems, and mental health, are impactful.
Originality: Hicks's narrative as a therapist who counsels soldiers worldwide is decidedly unique and fascinating. She offers honest reflections on her own growth and pain, while approaching her patients and their struggles with sensitivity, nuance, and clarity.
Character/Execution: The author intriguingly integrates her own Buddhist beliefs and worldview with a burgeoning understanding of the the military experience and the lasting impacts of trauma. Hicks's awakening is as compelling as the journeys faced by those she counsels.
Date Submitted: January 08, 2024
Not being terribly busy, Hicks spends time sightseeing and exploring the local cultures. She also tries best to practice what she preaches when confronted with anxiety and depression at Camp Casey in South Korea. Her innate interest in Buddhism helps her connect with lamas and nuns as well as other Europeans and Americans interested in Buddhist practices. This brings her a measure of peace and acceptance of her singlehood and loneliness.
Sedate in pace and tone, the memoir explores not just the psychological challenges endured by soldiers and their families that result from multiple deployments, but also exposes the attitudes of military top brass when it comes to understanding mental illness and trauma among army personnel. With its patriarchal norms of masculinity and rampant homophobia, the military comes across as a lumbering behemoth with one leg enmeshed in the past. Hicks’s candid description of her own struggles with anxiety and depression and her exposing of attitudes within the military makes this memoir an illuminating read.
Takeaway: A serene memoir about counseling US military personnel and families.
Comparable Titles: Sally Wolf’s Life of a Military Psychologist, Marjorie Morrison’s The Inside Battle.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A