Chasing the Daylight
Chasing the Daylight is for anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a part of something bigger than themselves. After marrying her long-distance sweetheart and subsequently leaving her old life in Poland behind for a fresh start in the US, Joanna Rakowski embarks on an incredible journey of transformation from a delicate ballerina and academician into a hard-core American intelligence officer.
Told in an intricately detailed memoir style, this book starts at the beginning of Joanna’s military experience with shipping off to boot camp and follows the intrepid author through some of the most gratifying and excruciating challenges a person can face while serving in the armed forces. From near misses with heat strokes after grueling hikes through desert terrain to tests of psychological endurance when all the training in the world can’t combat the all-encompassing experience of loneliness; Joanna’s story nearly runs the entire gamut of the human condition on her quest to become an officer.
With flashbacks to her life in Poland sprinkled throughout, along with reflections on some of her more difficult personal and professional encounters, Joanna invites readers to share the whole of her adventure; the good, the bad, and everything in between. The passion for her adopted country practically oozes off the pages, and it’s the author’s wholehearted belief in her American dream more than any fast-paced action that keeps you turning the pages. I’ve read a lot of memoirs lately, and it’s seldom that you find one with an author this earnestly likable.
Regardless of how you feel about the US as a country or any of its military organizations, Joanna’s enthusiasm and hope for her career and what becoming a member of the US military means to her are so heartfelt and honestly written that it isn’t difficult to overcome your own reservations and simply enjoy a novel about a fiercely optimistic and driven woman achieving her dreams.
As detailed as the writing style is, it would’ve been really interesting to get a little more perspective on what her family and friends were experiencing throughout Joanna’s rigorous and lengthy training programs. While the reader isn’t left entirely bereft (there’s quite a bit that is shared regarding her relationship with her husband and her best friend from Poland), I think it would’ve added an extra layer of depth for the reader to explore and provided a bit of a focus point for those not familiar with the strain on civilian relationships that often go hand in hand with the rigors and challenges of military life.
If you’re looking for a memoir written with passion, grit, and not a small amount of feminine power, this one should be at the top of your TBR.
|Page Count||408 pages|
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