3 out of 4 stars
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"Due to the small print of the Status of Forces Agreement, American military personnel no longer have any rights as American citizens off base should the Turkish government determine they have offended any laws."
It's 1964, and you are living in a foreign country with your husband and three young children. Imagine the terror of having your son kidnapped, your car stolen, and your husband arrested without any explanation--all in a matter of months. In Line Of Communications, Sondra Garner chronicles the events following the arrest and imprisonment of her Air Force Officer husband in Turkey. Meanwhile, back in the United States, the arrests of three Americans in the military haven't even made the news. Despite being trapped in a political tug of war, Garner is desperate to free her husband; she draws strength and courage from their love and finds kindness from unexpected sources.
Garner's story has all the makings of an action-packed suspense; unfortunately, it is a true story. When Garner shares how she met her husband, Chase, and her mother's involvement, it's apparent that she is a gifted storyteller. She pens her story with amusing details, but when she addresses more serious issues, her writing transitions smoothly, as she candidly recounts the horrific details. It's difficult to imagine such a nightmarish scenario, but Garner poignantly portrays her family's experience while maintaining her sense of humor. For example, regarding the Turkish/American Status of Forces Agreement, she quips, "...perhaps they should have selected a mother who had experience in negotiating a truce between two two-year-olds!"
I most liked Garner's attention to details as she portrayed a young American family adjusting to life in Turkey. While she didn't sugarcoat the circumstances, she shared the positive as well as the negative. For instance, in the same chapter that she described the deep cleaning and work needed on their home, she also included a picturesque description of the covered porch and walled rose garden that provided privacy, fragrance, and a play area for the children. I enjoyed reading these types of details about everyday life in a foreign country which balanced the more serious issues the book addressed.
I also admired Garner's discretion and diplomacy. She was quite sensitive about not revealing the names of the Turkish friends who helped them lest there were any negative repercussions for them. However, most significantly, out of respect for her husband, she waited to write the book and adhered to the military's secrecy about their unjust treatment. Even now, she doesn't list names or point fingers.
I can't think of anything I dislike about the book, but sadly, the number of punctuation errors prevent me from giving it a perfect score. Most of the errors are the incorrect capitalizations of words. With minor corrections, the book could easily earn a perfect score. However, as it is, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to those who enjoy reading about overcoming adversity and military life. It will also appeal to readers who are interested in the culture and history of Turkey.
Line Of Communications
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