A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert by Karen Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is about the author's childhood in the Mojave Desert while her parents worked designing missiles at China Lake. It's also about civilian vs military life, fundamentalism, and how much of childhood can be held on to. I enjoyed some funny descriptions of Eugene and Oregon weather from the perspective of someone accustomed to desert climate. I got a little bogged down in the middle but appreciated how so many topics come back around in the end, with one big surprise.
I had a funny moment where she is doing the pledge of allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Bible, and I flashed back to Awanas and Vacation Bible School - some of her childhood religious surroundings were identical to mine. And then when she talks about the books she read in school about missionaries breaking the rules - I also read those as a child! Bizarre.
The writing about the landscape that appears from time to time can really be evocative:
"A fierce wind kicked in and the sky smelled of creosote bushes, that musky electric smell, which meant it was raining nearby."
"After a while, knowing that war fills your bellies, peace can feel like starvation."
"Growing up in a war town does not mean you know a thing about war."
I received an eARC from the publisher through Edelweiss, this came out August 14, 2018.
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