Fall is my very favorite time of year. I look so forward to cooler days, crisp cool nights, changing colors in the leaves and hot apple cider. But, when you live in Southern California, sometimes fall is just a dream. We are suffering with Santa Ana winds, hot, dry days and the fires have been tragic. Yet, I will turn on the a/c, curl up with a blanket, cup of tea and a book to pretend it is fall outside.
I have finished some really great books lately, so watch for them on the blog.
The first one I want to chat about is Dishrags to Dirtbags by Brooke Santina. I loved this book for so many reasons I can’t wait to share with you.
Beth is a quiet, timid stay at home mom to her twin boys and a housewife to her military husband. Some say she is mousy with no backbone, but this story changes that stereotype. Beth is married to her high school sweetheart, Garrett. He is in the military and deploys early in the book. Without Garrett home, Beth is in charge and she struggles with how to fill her days and time. Her dream was to have children but never to be a stay at home Mom. Garrett has traditional values and believes that one parent should stay home and that is Beth. Following these traditions, she falls in and is involved in her kids classrooms, school, and church. When Garrett returns home after being gone for a year, Beth’s world is turned upside down.
Garrett returns home from deployment, damaged. While physically fine, he suffers from PTSD; he is drinking, disengaged, disconnected and begins to gamble.
One Day shortly after his return, Beth is at the grocery store, emptying her cart on the belt and steps up to pay. Her card is declined. Embarrassed and shocked she tells the clerk, there is money in my account I don’t know what is wrong, try it again. Declined! Arriving home ready to question Garrett, he is no where to be found. Stumbling in late, slurring his words, Beth puts him to bed and he passes out. The next morning, angry, Beth beelines it for the bank to uncover the problem and is devastated to the point of being sick. She discovers that her checking account is empty, the savings is gone and both boys college funds are empty. Garrett has gambled away every penny.
In shock and heartbroken, Beth makes her way to the school to work in the boys classroom, it is Career Day. She listens as a Police officer tells the kids about his job and she is intrigued. Her mind is reeling, she knows she can’t rely on Garrett any longer, she is going to have to get a job. Her mind flashes to an aptitude test she had taken years back in school ~ Law enforcement was her top career match.
Beth finds herself thinking more and more about the Police Academy, no other jobs seem to interest her, so she decides to enroll. This quiet, church going stay at home Mom is now in a world dominated by men, usually in their 20’s and she is out of her element. Beth struggles to find her place and way in a world with people who bully her and tell her she won’t make it; she is not accepted by her superiors or other cadets. At home, her husband is not supportive, Beth is alone, except for her two boys who think it is cool that Mom is going to be a cop.
Throughout her journey, she endures, pushes through and stands her ground. She asks herself “how did my success in life come to depend on my ability to shout the f-word across a room full of strangers to make a point?”
I love the character of Beth and I suspect Beth is modeled after the author who in her late 30’s become a cop herself. She is strong, determined, forceful; she never gives up and fights to find where she fits in.
Dishrags to Dirtbags introduced me to a world I don’t really understand. While I have family in the law enforcement and have seen changes in them, I didn’t really understand what went on behind the scenes and what happens. The book opened my eyes into the life of women in law enforcement and a bit about what life looks like behind bars. The stories Brooke writes about in dealing with prisoners, criminals, drunks, drugs, manipulators and other law enforcement officers gave me a whole new appreciation and perspective of that life.
As she touches on and weaves in the PTSD and the unraveling of a marriage lightly throughout the book, you will gain a deeper appreciation of our military and the families who give so much to protect us, yet lose so much when someone won’t seek help.
I honestly couldn’t put the book down and when I did and came back to it; I couldn’t wait to read more of the Beth’s experiences of nights in the prison. The author had me laughing, crying and cheering as Beth discovers how she can make a difference.
Dishrags to Dirtbags is a must read. I can’t wait to hear what you think.
Until next time,