Most helpful critical review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2014
Another book club book – this one chosen by my own mother. GI Brides was chosen as a Biography, she didn’t want us to read about a celebrity and so looked for a book about some ordinary people.
GI Brides tells the story of four girls who met and married American GI’s during World War II and details their lives and journeys to the US and how they were able to adapt to living over there and how they were accepted into the various communities and families.
Before starting this book I was expecting some happy stories about how they met the loves of their lives and how wonderful everything was – naive I know, but that was what I expected. What I read was very different. Out of the four girls only one of them ended up with a happy marriage with their GI. The others ended up with a womaniser, a drunk who beat his wife and a gambler.
It was interesting to see how these men seemed like completely different people while they were in the UK and how they reverted back to their true characters once they were back on home soil. These girls did not have an easy time of it. There were issues with their in-laws and being accepted into the family, being separated from their own families and being in a strange land with different customs.
They had to fight for everything they had and sometimes were pushed to the limit before admitting that they had to make a change to improve their relationships/lives. For me, I think being separated from my family would have been the biggest strain. This was at a time where you couldn’t just pick up the phone and call if you felt homesick, no Skype and travel between the US and the UK wasn’t easy or cheap. These girls left everything behind to follow their husbands and it was a shame that, for these four girls, it wasn’t the fairytale they were looking for.
It’s worth noting that out of the tens of thousands of young girls these 4 stories seem to be the exception. It was noted at the end of the book that they had a very low divorce rate compared with other couples and the majority were very happy. I’m not sure if I could have done what they did and stuck with it for as long as they did. It was a very fascinating insight into what went on during a very difficult time for both countries.