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G.I. Joe & Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty

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True account of life, love, war, and finally, peace Includes details and accounts of D-Day Author sings tenor for the world-famous Oak Ridge Boys Poignant slice of Americana


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True account of life, love, war, and finally, peace Includes details and accounts of D-Day Author sings tenor for the world-famous Oak Ridge Boys Poignant slice of Americana

30 review for G.I. Joe & Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    WOW!!! An excellent book. The story comes out of WW2. The story revolves around a family that finds a way or makes one to survive the trials and heartaches of post-war problems. Highly recommend this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    This was the first book that made me cry. I thought it was such a tribute to a loving couple. I read it a few years ago, but I plan to read it again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Cassada

    One of the Oakridge Boys tells the story of his parents . Their love and loyalty to each other, service to our country, and faith were inspiring to read during our morning time together.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    There is no greater love than when a child honors his parents, and in G.I. Joe & Lillie, Oak Ridge Boys tenor Joseph S. Bonsall pays a beautiful tribute to his parents Joe and Lillie Bonsall with a beautifully written memoir as a testament of their true love for each other. G.I. Joe and Lillie's love story begins when they are called to duty in World War II. Joe was a street kid from Philly and Lillie was a farmer's daughter from Roanoke Rapids, NC. Both had a difficult childhood and left high sc There is no greater love than when a child honors his parents, and in G.I. Joe & Lillie, Oak Ridge Boys tenor Joseph S. Bonsall pays a beautiful tribute to his parents Joe and Lillie Bonsall with a beautifully written memoir as a testament of their true love for each other. G.I. Joe and Lillie's love story begins when they are called to duty in World War II. Joe was a street kid from Philly and Lillie was a farmer's daughter from Roanoke Rapids, NC. Both had a difficult childhood and left high school in the 9th grade, and both had a desire to help the war effort in the best way that they could. Joe & Lillie's journey began in May 1943, when at the age of eighteen, Joe enlisted in the Army, while Lillie left home in 1943 at the age of sixteen and worked in a defense plant in Michigan before joining the Women's Army Corps. (WAC) at the age of seventeen in August 1944. These two young people met, fell in love, married, and served their nation in the armed forces. They had a special marriage that spanned fifty-five years, one that was based on love, faith, loyalty, commitment, and dedication to each other, no matter what trials and tribulations that they faced through the years. Since his childhood, Author Joe Bonsall has been fascinated with the idiosyncrasies of war, so in addition to sharing G.I. Joe and Lillie's story with the reader, he interweaves a richly descriptive and historical account of World War II, with photos interspersed throughout the book. G.I. Joe & Lillie is an inspirational and compelling memoir that documents the lives of two American heroes, their love, and the memories that will remain forever in the author and his family's heart. You can't help but feel the patriotism and pride that runs throughout the story, and feel the enduring love and deep family values that kept G.I Joe & Lillie's marriage going throughout the years. This lovely memoir will make the reader pause and consider what our military personnel go through as they serve overseas, and the serious trauma and other effects (PTSD) that they face when they come home, and how their families provide the love, support, and perseverance to help them get through it with dignity, honor, and grace. G.I. Joe & Lillie is an emotional memoir that will tug at the heartstrings and stir the soul. http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    Oh. My. Goodness. I LOVED THIS BOOK!! This is seriously the sweetest, best love story I have like ever read. It's definitely not the usual – boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, they get married and live happily ever after. Uh, nope. More like this – girl meets boy, girl kisses boy, they get married, their marriage last 55 years through many ups and downs, happiness and heartache. Yep, it's soooo good. All that said, I have to add, this is the best book (I'm so repetitive) I've ever read to show tha Oh. My. Goodness. I LOVED THIS BOOK!! This is seriously the sweetest, best love story I have like ever read. It's definitely not the usual – boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, they get married and live happily ever after. Uh, nope. More like this – girl meets boy, girl kisses boy, they get married, their marriage last 55 years through many ups and downs, happiness and heartache. Yep, it's soooo good. All that said, I have to add, this is the best book (I'm so repetitive) I've ever read to show that just because the soldiers are home, the war isn't over for them. The memories will always remain. The nightmares are there. And then what came later on... :'( I was totally not expecting that!! (I'd like to call it a plot twist, but it's a nonfiction book. xD) So yeah. If you want to cry over the cruelty of war, read this book. If you want to get that swelling, patriotic feeling deep in your heart, read this book. If you want to be inspired by an amazing true story of love and loyalty no matter what, read this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joy DeKok

    This is a beautiful love story with an ending so tender and triumphant - in the eternal sense - the story lingers in my heart and mind. I left the book wishing I had met Lillie and could glean from her faith, take in a bit of her wisdom, or share a laugh. Lillie and her G. I. Joe were both heroes who fought the war together for years after peace was dclared and the battle fields cleared. The author writes their story with transparency - a courageous thing for a son to do.

  7. 5 out of 5

    David Bowers

    Amazing, moving story of a GI and the lady who fell in love with him ... True story but, I won't give a 'spoiler.' A must read for music fans, Oak Ridge Boys' fans and anyone who loves a touching story, love stories and God. The Oaks' Joe Bonsall has proved himself to be, not only the consummate entertainer but, also, an excellent story-teller. Amazing, moving story of a GI and the lady who fell in love with him ... True story but, I won't give a 'spoiler.' A must read for music fans, Oak Ridge Boys' fans and anyone who loves a touching story, love stories and God. The Oaks' Joe Bonsall has proved himself to be, not only the consummate entertainer but, also, an excellent story-teller.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah Sayre

    Sooo enjoyable! Touching and really fun to read. This is a quick read and very engaging.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andi

    I can't even find the words to tell you how beautiful this book is. A sweet & true love story full of patriotism, perserverance and family values. I can't even find the words to tell you how beautiful this book is. A sweet & true love story full of patriotism, perserverance and family values.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karen Beck

    What a beautiful tribute to two great people! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lQk27... (Have a tissue in hand) What a beautiful tribute to two great people! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lQk27... (Have a tissue in hand)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hanna

    What can I say? It's a true story, set mostly during/around WWII, and it's about love (so a little romance) and imperfect people who are also loyal. It is also a book showing highest honor to one's parents/heritage. Setting: G.I. Joe was born in Philadelphia and Lillie was born in North Carolina, but the story takes these characters all over the country, and also across the pond to the beaches of Normandy. A large part of the book is set during WWII (G.I. Joe turned 18 in 1943), but G.I. Joe and What can I say? It's a true story, set mostly during/around WWII, and it's about love (so a little romance) and imperfect people who are also loyal. It is also a book showing highest honor to one's parents/heritage. Setting: G.I. Joe was born in Philadelphia and Lillie was born in North Carolina, but the story takes these characters all over the country, and also across the pond to the beaches of Normandy. A large part of the book is set during WWII (G.I. Joe turned 18 in 1943), but G.I. Joe and Lillie's lives are also documented in their later years, until 2001. There were several aspects to this book that I liked. One: the true story aspect. Two: the photographs interspersed throughout the story. Three: Lillie. Four: Lillie's loyalty, compassion, determination, and her entire personality. Five: G.I. Joe, because who wouldn't love a WWII private soldier hero with serious struggles? In some instances he reminded me of my own grandfather. Six: the details of the World War II terms, whether it be the planes, the divisions/regiments/armies (I never can get all those numbers straight), or various acronyms. I know everyone doesn't have the miraculous, heartwarming story of Joe Bonsall's parents, but I believe there should be more stories of real people, more books devoted to honoring the legacies of one's parents, grandparents, or other ancestors. Our history should never be forgotten, and this book is a step in the right direction.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Simply put this book will make you cry. Joseph Bonsall, of the famous Oak Ridge Boys, writes his parents story in the third person. His parents story is a great love story and he doesn't gloss over the hard times but you can see the love they all had for one another. His father always downplayed his role in the war and in plain English G.I. Joe is a true hero. The men and women who go into the military really give up a lot for our country and they should never be forgotten. A true homage to all Simply put this book will make you cry. Joseph Bonsall, of the famous Oak Ridge Boys, writes his parents story in the third person. His parents story is a great love story and he doesn't gloss over the hard times but you can see the love they all had for one another. His father always downplayed his role in the war and in plain English G.I. Joe is a true hero. The men and women who go into the military really give up a lot for our country and they should never be forgotten. A true homage to all who have been and currently are in the military. Also...do a youtube search on G.I. Joe & Lillie and listen / watch the Oak Ridge Boys perform the song that Joseph Bonsall wrote in honor of his mom and dad. You will not be disappointed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    This was such a heart-warming biography of 2 World War II veterans told by their son. It brought back so many memories of growing up as a "baby boomer" child with a veteran parent who taught love for country, devotion to a marriage and love for Jesus, and a commitment to work hard and provide for a family no matter how hard the trials. I watched the music video of the Oak Ridge Boys singing "G.I. Joe and Lillie" afterwards and it was such a great thing after reading their story. This was such a heart-warming biography of 2 World War II veterans told by their son. It brought back so many memories of growing up as a "baby boomer" child with a veteran parent who taught love for country, devotion to a marriage and love for Jesus, and a commitment to work hard and provide for a family no matter how hard the trials. I watched the music video of the Oak Ridge Boys singing "G.I. Joe and Lillie" afterwards and it was such a great thing after reading their story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michellet

    This is a heartfelt homage to Bonsall's (a member of the Oak Ridge Boys singing group) parents, reminding us of families' lives both as service members and on the Homefront, as well the continued struggles and joys, long after WWII. A quick, heartwarming read. This is a heartfelt homage to Bonsall's (a member of the Oak Ridge Boys singing group) parents, reminding us of families' lives both as service members and on the Homefront, as well the continued struggles and joys, long after WWII. A quick, heartwarming read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tawnda Andrews

    I love this story and it’s another important reminder of the sacrifices of the men and woman during WWII. However, the writing was choppy and sometimes difficult to follow. Not my favorite writing style.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darlene A Gerber

    Love & loyalty A thought-provoking recounting of one family's decision to endure. A refreshing recollection that faith and love can triumph over the hardships of life. Love & loyalty A thought-provoking recounting of one family's decision to endure. A refreshing recollection that faith and love can triumph over the hardships of life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    It made me cry and think a lot about my own family (in a good way) and how lucky I am. If you want a quick read about someone’s life (a normal everyday person who did remarkable things) read this.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Hetherton

    Incredible So great to get a touch of love and history. Respect of the family and just a well-written story. I was honored to read this book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Beach

    I couldn't put this book down. It was a very good read. I couldn't put this book down. It was a very good read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Winschel

    Beautiful true life story of love and war . So well written . A son telling story of his parents in the era of World War 2. Loved reading stories as these . A bittersweet ending.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Couch

    A very tender love story about the author's parents. More detail was needed in this book. A very tender love story about the author's parents. More detail was needed in this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gerri R.

    Touching story! Well written. Enjoyed it very much.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Faith

    I believe that Joseph S. Bonsall wrote this book to show the life story of two veterans' and their struggles that were brought together through the difficult times of WWII. He saw the beauty in this war love story and knew the entire world should be able to hear it. The theme of the book is that great things can come from struggles and hard times. I believe this is the theme because it tells about their lives before they joined the army and after. They both struggle with their family members an I believe that Joseph S. Bonsall wrote this book to show the life story of two veterans' and their struggles that were brought together through the difficult times of WWII. He saw the beauty in this war love story and knew the entire world should be able to hear it. The theme of the book is that great things can come from struggles and hard times. I believe this is the theme because it tells about their lives before they joined the army and after. They both struggle with their family members and both joined the army to get away from it and had the struggles of being in war. And then they met and it was love at first kiss. The writing style of this book was narration with a bit of description at certain points. Yes, this style was very effective because of the book being about the stories of two lives meeting and becoming one. Its also effective because of when they talk about war it makes you feel like you're there at that moment in time. I really loved this book, it was a very heart warming book that also tells you about being in WWII. I really liked the part where they first met. I also liked how they tell what he experienced during his time over seas. One of my favorite parts was when G.I.Joe ran out mowing down the German soldiers with his gun and kept shooting even though he had been shot multiple times and didn't stop until the Germans were dead and his platoon was safe. The thing I didn't like was the way their families treated them in the beginning, but there isn't anything that the author could do about that. It is not similar to any other book I have read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kearns

    I bought this book several years ago and just now got around to reading it. I regret waiting so long, because it's a wonderful book. I had tears in my eyes many times while reading it. The author is a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, and his parents are the characters in the book. G.I. Joe grew up poor in Philadelphia and signed up to fight in WWII. Lillie grew up poor in South Carolina and ran away from home at 16 to sign up for the Women's Army Corps(she fudged her age on her birth certificate). I bought this book several years ago and just now got around to reading it. I regret waiting so long, because it's a wonderful book. I had tears in my eyes many times while reading it. The author is a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, and his parents are the characters in the book. G.I. Joe grew up poor in Philadelphia and signed up to fight in WWII. Lillie grew up poor in South Carolina and ran away from home at 16 to sign up for the Women's Army Corps(she fudged her age on her birth certificate). These two served their country bravely during the war, and met after G.I. Joe was wounded in battle. It was love at first sight for both of them, and for the rest of their lives they loved each other and raised a family. They are both buried in Arlington National Cemetery, as is fitting. As our Greatest Generation is dying off, we hear stories once in a while of people like G.I Joe and Lillie, who gave unselfishly, worked hard, did without and never asked for recognition. Many of them suffered injuries and mental problems from what they experienced during the war, and all of them were children of the Great Depression. My own grandparents lived this life, and I miss them every day. Be sure to read this feel-good book and see what true love really is.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Avis Gill

    Received this book from my daughter, and believe me it's a must read for baby boomers like myself. Being one of two daughters of a WWII soldier, it brought back alot of memories of my dad. I remember when I was about 6 years old and he had had a bad kidney attack. The Dr. came to our home and gave him sodium penathol for his pain. The Dr. and my mom sat with him as he fought the war verbally. My mom told us girls to leave the room after awhile as she didn't want us to hear the cussing and anymor Received this book from my daughter, and believe me it's a must read for baby boomers like myself. Being one of two daughters of a WWII soldier, it brought back alot of memories of my dad. I remember when I was about 6 years old and he had had a bad kidney attack. The Dr. came to our home and gave him sodium penathol for his pain. The Dr. and my mom sat with him as he fought the war verbally. My mom told us girls to leave the room after awhile as she didn't want us to hear the cussing and anymore details. After a while, my dad went into a deep sleep and the Dr. left. When my dad woke up he didn't remember anything, but the pain had subsided. My mom told him some of the things he had said and he was quiet for awhile. But I remember my mom crying and telling us girls, that our dad had gone thru hell and back. This book is a good read for veterans, wives and families of veterans. It's also a good history learning experience for all those in school who think war is fun and it's a game. It's not! This book is highly recommend by me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This was the first of my 2013 summer reading books and I completed it in one day. It's a good story of a couple who met while serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, married, and raised a family while living a wholesome, hard-working, god-fearing life in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. They both had difficulties to overcome, particularly the father, which arose partly from his childhood upbringing and mostly from his wounds obtained in the infantry. There is a bit of a twist at the e This was the first of my 2013 summer reading books and I completed it in one day. It's a good story of a couple who met while serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, married, and raised a family while living a wholesome, hard-working, god-fearing life in the Kensington section of North Philadelphia. They both had difficulties to overcome, particularly the father, which arose partly from his childhood upbringing and mostly from his wounds obtained in the infantry. There is a bit of a twist at the end, which helps answer some questions and tie some things together nicely.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany- Mayflower Homeschool

    Such a sweet, sweet book! As a veteran myself, and the wife of a veteran soldier of Operation Enduring Freedom/Kabul, Afghanistan, this book hit home for me. I related so much to this beautiful story, and it touched a special place in my heart. I would highly recommend this book! It is so important for us all to remember the heartbreaking sacrifice our veterans have paid for our freedom. I really loved the historical events mentioned in the book, and loved following G.I. Joe and Lillie’s lives t Such a sweet, sweet book! As a veteran myself, and the wife of a veteran soldier of Operation Enduring Freedom/Kabul, Afghanistan, this book hit home for me. I related so much to this beautiful story, and it touched a special place in my heart. I would highly recommend this book! It is so important for us all to remember the heartbreaking sacrifice our veterans have paid for our freedom. I really loved the historical events mentioned in the book, and loved following G.I. Joe and Lillie’s lives through history!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nichole

    There are no surprises in this story, it's just a story. It was given to me as part of a wedding present and it sat on the shelf for almost a year before I got around to reading it and I was pleasantly surprised. I would recommend this book to anybody needing a break from reading books with heavy messages, deeply thought provoking plots or series burn-out. I think it's the type of interlude everybody needs. There are no surprises in this story, it's just a story. It was given to me as part of a wedding present and it sat on the shelf for almost a year before I got around to reading it and I was pleasantly surprised. I would recommend this book to anybody needing a break from reading books with heavy messages, deeply thought provoking plots or series burn-out. I think it's the type of interlude everybody needs.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Not only are the Oakridge boys one of my favorite entertainment groups, their lead singer Joe Bonsall is a proven author. This book evokes both happy and sad moments and is warm and inspirational and interesting. America is Great, God is good and the real hero's are the one's who did not come home from the wars. A worthwhile read. Despite its problems, America is still the greatest country in the world. Not only are the Oakridge boys one of my favorite entertainment groups, their lead singer Joe Bonsall is a proven author. This book evokes both happy and sad moments and is warm and inspirational and interesting. America is Great, God is good and the real hero's are the one's who did not come home from the wars. A worthwhile read. Despite its problems, America is still the greatest country in the world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karole Walla

    Heartfelt I love listening to the "Oaks" and have enjoyed them when they performed at Norske Hostfest in Minot, ND. I come from a military family and this touching story brought back so very many memories of my own father and my childhood. We are now a three generation Navy family and I hope my granddaughter will think of her Dad, grandfather and great-grandfather with the same admiration and respect as she grows up and reads this book which I will pass on to her. Heartfelt I love listening to the "Oaks" and have enjoyed them when they performed at Norske Hostfest in Minot, ND. I come from a military family and this touching story brought back so very many memories of my own father and my childhood. We are now a three generation Navy family and I hope my granddaughter will think of her Dad, grandfather and great-grandfather with the same admiration and respect as she grows up and reads this book which I will pass on to her.

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