Monday, March 19, 2012
Jolene and Michael have hit a rough spot in their marriage. Michael doesn't feel like he's the man he could be without the burden of his wife, he's still grieving the loss of his father, and in a moment of anger he declares he doesn't love her anymore. Jolene is devastated and still very much in love with him. In the middle of this mess in their marriage she learns she's being deployed to Iraq. She has two daughters she now has to leave behind with their workaholic father. Michael is angry with her for leaving him in this situation and they part on very difficult terms. Michael doesn't support Jolene's career in the military, while it means everything to Jolene.
I would be lying if I said by this point in the book I hadn't already shed a lot of tears. That's Kristin Hannah's books for you, though, she's heavy on the emotional intensity and they really grip your heart.
When Jolene gets to Iraq she finds it's really difficult but she sends her family letters that paint a really rosy picture, but the pressure is tremendous and the lives of the people she loves are in danger everyday. At home, Michael learns to balance his work with his family and through a court case begins to see the reality of Jolene's situation. Tragedy strikes and it takes everything Michael and Jolene have to pull through.
I really enjoyed Home Front, though yes, I did cry. A LOT. I thought it was interesting that Hannah chose to explore what deployment can mean to a family by having the mother leave and how Michael adjusted to his new role. I think she handled a lot of the ideas like PTSD and such with care. She gave a believable background to Jolene and painted a clear picture of why it's so difficult for a returning soldier to get the help they need and the many obstacles they face.
I flew through the book and while I think the second half could have used just a little more time and space in the story, this is a recommended read.
Things You Might Want to Know: Profanity
Source of Book: Review copy received from publisher
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
(Affiliate links are used in this post)
Review: Home Front by Kristin Hannah