Saturday, April 21, 2018
Features and More

Review: Tracy Crow looks back with clarity on career, being a woman Marine in memoir 'Eyes Right'

Eyes Right: Confessions From a Woman Marine is a deeply contemplative memoir tracing author Tracy Crow's service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1977 to 1987.

Crow, an assistant professor of creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, published a novel last year under the pen name Carver Greene. An Unlawful Order is the first in a planned series featuring a protagonist who is a female military officer. Eyes Right is her first nonfiction book.

The focus of Crow's memoir is her unlikely trajectory from errant teenager eager to escape her Appalachian Virginia childhood to driven military journalist and decorated Marine Corps officer. At the height of her career, still in her twenties, Crow was a wife, a mother and a weapons-qualified Marine who was as at home handling an M-16 as she was interviewing the secretary of the U.S. Navy.

Crow's narrative takes place during a great transition in terms of the number of women on active duty — 100,000 women were serving in the military the summer Crow enlisted; that number had doubled by the time she left the Marines. The book is an intimate glimpse of an era in which women in the military faced myriad obstacles, including dismissive sexism and sexual harassment on the job.

Still a teenager when she enlisted, Crow found a true home in the Marine Corps. While her marriage to a fellow officer floundered and she faced the constant dilemma of the pull of motherhood versus career, she clearly embraced the military culture and thrived as much on the exhilarating risk-taking as on the rewards and recognition she earned through work and dedication. She followed the rules and rose rapidly through the ranks — until she broke the rules, which led to the threat of a career-ending court-martial.

What's refreshing about this memoir is the absence of finger-pointing or assignment of blame. Crow tells her story in a clear voice devoid of self-indulgent apologia. With humility and clarity, she covers both the betrayals she encountered and the self-discovery she made in the aftermath of the maelstrom in whose center she found herself.

How Crow's career and personal life imploded when her clandestine relationship with a popular general was exposed is by turns exhilarating, wistful and poignantly raw. The general (whose name is changed in the book) is painted as neither villain nor hero; his presence is almost peripheral in Crow's account, which leaves readers to arrive at their own conclusions about abuse of power and accountability. In the end she spared herself and those she cared for the ordeal that a public court-martial would have delivered, but she sacrificed a great deal in the process, the least of which was a promising career.

Crow says that her intent was to tell her story with as much grace as possible, and she has accomplished this, effectively communicating the intimacies she shared with the two men in her life during this period without devolving into gratuitously graphic detail.

More importantly, Crow's memoir is a meditation on what it was like to be a woman serving in the Marines at a point in history when women were fighting to prove themselves capable of succeeding in a male-dominated culture. It's also about the heart-wrenching irony of the tradeoffs women wrestled with — still wrestle with — when they aspire to excel in roles once refused them.

Lorrie Lykins is a longtime correspondent with the Times and writes the Ask Dr. Delay column.

Comments
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

In Bhutan, gross national happiness more important than GDP

Associated PressLAYA, BhutanPrayer flags whip in the wind, flying across steep valleys and roads. Buddhist temples, stupa shrines and majestic fortresses called zhongs dot the landscape. Giant water-powered prayer wheels spin from tumbling falls. Far...
Published: 04/20/18
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

TAMPA — Appropriately enough, a local distillery is releasing a hemp vodka on Friday, 4/20.After more than a year of planning and research, Fat Dog Spirits — the parent company of Touch Vodka — is releasing its new Nirvana vodka.Served in 750-millile...
Published: 04/19/18
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

Tampa Bay disciples of 'Wild Wild Country' guru remember Oregon commune

SPRING HILL Joe Lemieux sat on the cream sofa near several relics from another era in his life, out of place in this retiree’s pastel-tinged living room and brought into the morning light specifically for this occasion. There was a beaded nec...
Published: 04/19/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

As a person who has no intention of ever going into the bar business, I spend a good amount of time thinking about what makes bar concepts work. I think about themes, branding, menus, location and myriad other factors that ultimately play into a bar’...
Published: 04/19/18