When a young recruiter tells Rosa del Duca that enlisting in the National Guard will cover most of her college tuition, it seems like the perfect opportunity to escape her small Montana town and toxic family circumstances. After all, during her six-year contract she will only be a soldier for one weekend a month and two weeks a summer―nine percent soldier, ninety-one percent civilian.
9/11 changes everything.
As American involvement in the Middle East escalates, Rosa finds herself torn between her escalating moral disagreements with the military’s actions and her promise to the National Guard. To voice her opposition to the war would mean branding herself a traitor in the eyes of the peers she has come to consider a second family, but after years of navigating messy relationships and mental health struggles fueled by her dilemma, she can no longer stay silent. As Rosa begins the slow process of becoming a conscientious objector, she finds a powerful voice for her beliefs and learns the importance of standing up, even when it means standing apart.
About the Author
Rosa del Duca is a writer, journalist, and musician. She grew up a tomboy in rural Montana, where she joined the Army National Guard at seventeen. During her six-year contract, she became not only a conscientious objector, but a feminist and unlikely rebel.
Her work has been published in CALYX, River Teeth, CutBank, Grain, the Los Angeles Review, and others. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing the cold hard facts that keep you up at night at NBC Bay Area News, or she’s singing at bars, coffee shops, and farmers markets. Rosa lives in Castro Valley, California, with her writer, professor, and craftsman husband, Nicholas Leither, and their two young children, Itasca and River. Visit her website to learn more.
In order to foster discussion about this memoir, we have created two sets of reading questions. These are intended to be a jumping off point for discussing the complex themes and events described within this book. Please feel free to use these questions in your classrooms, reading groups, and beyond.