Title: The General’s Wife: The Final Betrayal
Author: Brenda Gantt
Publisher: Writers Branding, LLC
Reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh
Brenda Gantt found out the hard way that there’s a big difference between the American dream popular culture sells us, and the harsh truth of real life. She thought she had all the ingredients for happiness. A wealthy retired major general for a husband and almost everything money can buy. Such a relationship provides the sort of financial security which ought to eliminate any and all worries over the future. However, as Gantt tells us in her autobiography, The General’s Wife: The Final Betrayal, this seeming dream husband ended up giving her a nightmarish life.
After reading her story, it’s hard to believe she stayed married for 39 years. Any marriage that lasts more than 30 years these days is nothing short of miraculous. Once a couple gets past the three-decade mark, one year shy of 40 years together, you imagine they would have outlasted any storms that could have ended their relationship. On the surface, that marital length sure looked like staying power. However, this sweet woman that gave her high position husband a lovely home, didn’t receive nearly the same love and consideration.
No, this man that looks so handsome smiling on the book cover dressed sharp in his uniform, behaved more like an animal inside his home. Although he may not have abused his wife physically, he certainly damaged her verbally and emotionally. Although this story is told from Gantt’s perspective, she sure comes off like an angel. She spent 39 years being the best wife she could possibly be, even though her husband thought it was a waste of his time to even listen to her talk. Then when she went through some serious physical challenges, the mere thought of an ‘invalid’ wife was just too much for him to fathom. He basically called this the last straw, as though he was on the higher moral ground.
Gantt writes about her harsh marriage with unflinching honesty. It’s like a diary, and some of the entries are even taken straight from her diary. Granted, she sometimes repeats herself in a few places; but the reader accepts these repetitions as instances of emphasis.
That old country song, “Goodhearted Woman” comes to mind again and again while reading this book. That song is all about a goodhearted woman that loves a good timin’ man. “She loves him in spite of his ways, lord, that she don’t understand,” its lyric states at one point. Even while she’s going through her divorce — that necessary step to getting this bad man out of her life — she writes about her love for him in her diary. How can she still have even a small bit of love for the guy, after all he’d done to her? It says more about her ability to love, than his lovability (or lack thereof). She fell in love, and never completely fell out of love, one surmises. All his hatred and bad behavior could never completely kill her love, it seems. Gantt had/has a large capacity to love, it’s clear.
Toward the book’s end, Gantt writes about her church and church family. It’s not clear if she was always a churchgoer or if church only became central in her life during her older years. Whatever the case, Gantt’s spiritual beliefs somewhat help explain her ability to love even a bad man like this one. After all, the Bible talks about how God loves sinners, so loving this unkind man is a lot like a Godly kind of love.
While Gantt is to be commended for her utter honesty in writing this book, it nevertheless is sometimes a difficult book to get through. You may find yourself wishing something bad would happen to Gantt’s evil spouse. It ends on the positive note with Gantt as a survivor, who lived to tell this harsh tale.