Book title: The Journey of a Military Wife
Author: Victoria A. Irabor
Reviewer: Jibrin Baba Ndace
“The Journey of a Military Wife” is a captivating memoir that offers an enlightening account of a woman’s experience navigating the challenging and often uncharted terrain of military life. Penned by a young lawyer- “Baby Lawyer” as referred to by her husband in the book, turned military wife. This book delves into the unexpected and eye-opening realities she encountered, from her early days of marriage, to her interactions with other military spouses and in her leadership position as the wife of the Chief of Defense Staff which automatically makes her the President of the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA).
The memoir opens with Reading from the Husband-General, Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, husband of the author, who ushered in the friendly tone of the book, acknowledging the reality of events that happened over the years and promising change from the observations the book states.
This is followed by Foreword, written by the former First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, (wife of former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who was also DEPOWA President). She wrote generally on the essence of the book. There is also an introduction to the book.
This timeless piece of art is written in nine chapters and opens with ‘The Rude Awakening’, then Barrack Life, Courses, Postings, and Promotions, OWA and Excesses of Women. It continued in chapter five with Tradition, Customs, and Ethics in the Armed Forces of Nigeria, Time of War, When at the Top, Protocol and Etiquettes and ended with ‘Time to say Goodbye’.
All chapters are well-arranged and articulated. There is also Photospeak, and About the Author.
Throughout the pages, the author takes readers on an emotional journey, sharing her personal triumphs and tribulations as she adapts to the military lifestyle of which she had no prior knowledge and it came with the “Rude awakening”. Her writing effortlessly captures the rollercoaster of emotions, the highs and lows, and the sacrifices that military family’s face- wife and children. It serves as a heartfelt tribute to the courage and resilience of military wives and their invaluable contributions to their families and communities.
One of the book’s strengths lies in the author’s ability to convey the importance of discipline in the military world as discussed in the fourth chapter of the book OWA and Excesses of Women. She offers genuine insights into the rigid structure and protocols that shape military life, highlighting how these elements can be both challenging and rewarding. Her ability to discuss issues stating them plainly from her observation and experience while addressing them fair and square is commendable.
Her explanations of the roles and responsibilities of the Officer’s Wives Association (OWA) provide valuable insights into the support network available within the military community, offering a glimpse into the camaraderie and sisterhood that develops among military spouses.
While the book is primarily aimed at military wives, its relatability extends beyond that specific demographic as some chapters like chapter 5- Traditions, customs and in the Nigerian armed forces is packed with vast information exclusively explaining terminologies associated with the military and also clear picture elaborations which is also beneficial for individuals with the intent of joining the Nigerian Armed forces. The engaging storytelling and relatable anecdotes make it a recommended read for women of all walks of life- Military wives, women who wish to marry military officers and of all women of today who are yet to understand the duties and sacrifices required to build a home with a busy husband. It offers a glimpse into the resilience and adaptability required to overcome unexpected challenges and inspires readers to embrace their own inner strength and find courage in the face of adversity.
Furthermore, what sets “The Journey of a Military Wife” apart is the author’s ability to present a balanced perspective. Her storytelling beautifully captures the sense of community and support that emerges among military wives, showcasing the strength that arises from unity and shared experiences.
In terms of the writing style, the prose is engaging and accessible, making it an enjoyable read for both avid readers and those new to the genre. The author’s voice is authentic and relatable, creating an immediate connection with readers. Her ability to infuse personal anecdotes with broader insights on military life and womanhood adds depth and authenticity to the narrative.
One outstanding aspect that has been further explored is the author’s perspective on the evolving role of women in the military and as rightly quoted in the book, “the military wife is the unsung hero who serves alongside her soldier, holding the fort at home while he fights for our freedom”. While she touches on the subject, delving deeper into her thoughts on the progress and challenges faced by military women added another layer of depth to the narrative.
“The Journey of a Military Wife” is a captivating memoir that inspires true leadership and fellowship. The author, Victoria A. Irabor’s personal journey is a testament to the resilience, strength, and adaptability of military wives as she leads DEPOWA’s conferment of special consultative status with the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – a status that allows DEPOWA participate actively in the UN system and its global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda strategic advocacy in mental health support, treatment and management, especially by championing and initiating the establishment of a novel, first of its kind in Africa, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Centre, Abuja, for the Armed Forces of Nigeria, an initiative applauded and supported by the former First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has continued to win her accolades both locally and globally while also imparting valuable life lessons for readers.
This book serves as an empowering reminder that every woman has the capacity to overcome obstacles and find her own path, regardless of the circumstances yet still stand firmly in her husband’s capacity.