The Bibliophiliac’s Corner: “Curse of Interesting Times: A Vietnam-Era Memoir”
By Amanda Merriman
Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books. It has been this way nearly all her life. Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in the obsession too.
This month I had the treat of reading the memoir of Castle Pines Village resident and first-time author Patricia Ann Paul. “Curse of Interesting Times: A Vietnam-Era Memoir” spans in time from March 31, 1968 to December 29, 1970. Although many books examine the lives of soldiers during this period, Paul’s book brings a fresh perspective to readers.
In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy said, “There is a Chinese curse which says, “May he live in interesting times.” Like it or not, we live in interesting times.” Paul’s book reminds us of this, each chapter bookended with national and world events that occurred during this time in her life.
Imagine a recent college graduate, worried her fiancé would be drafted and sent to Vietnam before they could marry. The reader’s journey starts with the couple grappling with this emotional situation. Paul’s new husband gets drafted, and the military sends him to Germany. The young newlyweds from Iowa cross the threshold into adulthood and expand their worldview during this deployment. Conflicting feelings arise for Paul as she tries to make sense of the world around them: a deep love for country, but a desire for peace; shock at the violence happening back home in America; constant worry that her husband would be deployed to Vietnam. During the last years of the Vietnam War, Paul and her husband make the most of their situation. While in Germany, the couple develops a passion for traveling and old castles. Their youth and zest for life brought a smile to my face as I read of their adventures.
As a Gen Xer and an Air Force brat, I am familiar with Vietnam and the various things that happened in the country at the time. However, reading Curse of Interesting Times gave me more insight into this era. I am of German descent and was always careful to note that my family was from West Germany. I remember watching on TV when the wall that divided the country came down. Paul’s memoir brings up questions that are relevant today. I believe that war should never be entered into lightly, but I wonder about the difference in thoughts and experiences today; as our boys do not have to worry about being drafted into service. Certainly, the political turmoil back then parallels our current time.
Paul recently hosted a successful event to celebrate the launch of her book. The evening was highlighted with a spontaneous sing-along to Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” a song referenced in her book. Paul noted it was a “sixties hootenanny”! Paul is willing to attend book clubs to discuss her memoir. Interested book lovers can reach her via email at email@example.com.
Patricia Ann Paul pictured at a book launch held on October 5 for her Vietnam-era memoir titled, “Curse of Interesting Times.” Paul’s memoir shares what it was like being married to a draftee serving in Germany during this time.
Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, feel free to join in the dialogue. Blog your thoughts and feedback at www.castlepinesconnection.com and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar. Have you read a great book recently? Email your find to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.