Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine is Tracy Crow’s candid account of her experience as one of few female Marines in the 1980s. Crow joins the military in an attempt to find the structure and discipline she needs to stay sober and productive. Instead, she winds up sacrificing her own happiness and endangering her health in order to meet the rigorous standards of an institution where sexism abounds.
Growing up with an alcoholic and abusive father, Crow’s childhood was marked by instability. After struggling as a student and battling her own alcoholism, Crow meets with a recruiting officer and decides to join the Marines. There, she marries another Marine, has a daughter, and climbs the ranks at the Office of Public Affairs. These accomplishments do not come without a price; Crow frequently endangers her own well being, once even hiking a mountain in California, days after suffering a miscarriage. During a separation from her husband, Crow has a brief affair with a senior officer, a fact that unfortunately allows a fellow officer to accuse her of adultery, and leads to her to discharge from the Marines.
While Crow’s stories are as interesting as they are infuriating, the book gets bogged down by its structure. The story flashes back and forth from her official interrogation, to her childhood, to her military career. However, the overall story never feels cohesive, and I was unsurprised to read that it in fact contains parts of previously published essays. Still, Crow’s personal story is fascinating, and she is charmingly unapologetic as she reflects on the choices she made.
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