Title: Love in Condition Yellow: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage
Author: Sophia Raday
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Publisher: Beacon Press
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
The last thing Berkeley-dwelling peace activist Sophia Raday expected was to fall in love with a straightlaced Oakland police officer. As someone who had run away from cops dressed in riot gear at protests, Sophia was ambivalent, to say the least, at the prospect of dating Barrett, who was not only a cop but also a West Point graduate, an Airborne Ranger, and a major in the Army Reserve.
During their courtship the two argued about many of the matters that divide the United States, things like drug policy and race relations. Startled by the freedom she found in a relationship of differences, by the challenge of sparring with Barrett, and by his steadfast acceptance of her, Sophia unwittingly fell in love. Then, just when Sophia believed her family was starting a new chapter with the birth of their son, came September 11. Barrett’s belief that he must always stay in Condition Yellow—the terminology coined by his favorite Guns & Ammo writer for a state of alert in which you realize your life is in danger and you may need to shoot someone—was suddenly in the forefront of their lives. Sophia and Barrett began to confront, on a very personal level, their differing viewpoints on polarizing values like fear, duty, family, and patriotism.
I thought that Love in Condition Yellow sounded like an extremely interesting read, as well as a timely one, considering how politically divided the United States seems to be these days. Living in Washington, DC and being a graduate student in Political Science, it is virtually impossible to get away from ideological debates. Though I’m not much of a fan of arguing, I do enjoy listening to different points of view. Often I find that I haven’t thought of a particular issue from a certain viewpoint and realize that I have been looking at the subject too narrowly. That’s how I felt a lot of the time while reading Love in Condition Yellow.
Though my views are not quite as liberal as Sophia’s, I generally agreed with her principles, rather than Barrett’s. As a result, when she would become frustrated with him for his rigid views, I found myself becoming frustrated as well. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to keep her views to herself, especially when they ended up at the War College in Carlisle, PA. However, strangely enough I was more often irritated with Sophia than Barrett. She didn’t seem to know much about the issues and people she passed judgment on and often saw things in black and white, rather than in shades of gray. Her lack of nuance and tendency to judge people was frustrating.
However, I also really appreciated the lines of communication between Sophia and Barrett. Barrett often made me shake my head, but he also opened my eyes. I think Sophia softened Barrett in a lot of ways, made him realize the more emotional side of things. However, at the same time, Barrett affected Sophia and made her see that her way of interpreting things was often too simplistic. I really liked seeing the effect they had on one another, especially over time.
Love in Condition Yellow is a an eye-opening look at one marriage in the face of uncontrollable world events. Though it was slow at times, I appreciated the insight I gained from this little book.