Review Blog

Nov 07 2017

Married quarter: Boots, berets and bloody uniforms by Maria Augustus-Dunn

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Big Sky Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520453
(Age: Adult) Themes: Military life. Family relationships. Cambodia. Travel. Identity. Life as the spouse of a serving Australian Military man is revealed, 'boots and all', in this very personal memoir. Maria Augustus-Dunn reveals her own big personality and sociable self to her audience as she details 21 years of life with her identity impacted by the highs and lows of the Armed Services. With multiple moves and homes along the way she quite delightfully shares how the 'other half' of a married Military man is impacted when decisions are made for deployment and redeployment. Her social life gathers friends in far off places; she needs to deal with uniforms and expectations that have no training College for preparation; she is forced to find new work after another move across the country or just contend with being alone for long periods. In addition, Maria finds herself having to deal with a foreign diplomatic posting to Cambodia, with the difficulty of language learning and addressing the myriad of cultural issues that accompany this change. The author's good humour and respect shines through the text, and her enjoyment of a good party is also abundantly clear.
This honestly written memoir reveals other participants and their connections to Maria and her husband Brad, but she deliberately masks their identities to enable to keep some anonymity (necessary, but sometimes frustrating for the reader). Maria does not hide her own failings and her 'foot-in-mouth' moments add to the light-hearted representation of the personal history and make the book worth reading.
Recommended for adults who like to peek inside the lives of others or to those who want to find out more about the life of those who share the Military Married Quarters. This is not great literature... but memoirs are very personal.
Carolyn Hull

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