My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just love Kristin Hannah so darn much!
After reading The Nightingale and The Great Alone and absolutely falling in love, Kristin Hannah became my favorite author. And I’m now on a mission to read all of her books. Home Front happened to be the next one available at the library and in typical Kristin Hannah fashion, it was wonderful!
Home Front is set in 2005 and is about Joleen, a wife and mother of two daughters, who is a helicopter pilot in the National Guard. Her marriage is crumbling. Her husband, a workaholic, is regularly absent from family activities and events. And he doesn’t particularly agree with her participation in the military. When Joleen is unexpectedly deployed to Iraq, it could not be worse timing. Will her husband be able to fulfill the role of “Mr. Mom” when Joleen is gone? How can Joleen possibly miss a year of her children’s lives? But her sense of honor and duty propels her forward and there is nothing left to do but go.
Kristin Hannah plays with a lot of important issues in this book. Set only a few years after 9/11 when America was in the throes of the War on Terror, she perfectly portrays the split views of the American people. Some vehemently disagree with the war efforts. Some adamantly support the military and the men and women sacrificing their lives for their country. There is clearly a divide. In addition, PTSD has a heavy presence in multiple parts of the book. How soldiers deal with their grief. How they reincorporate into their family life after experiencing so many horrific events abroad.
I also found myself thinking of how our country supports its veterans when they return from home, particularly those who are wounded. This book is a perfect reason to make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. Donations to this important organization can be made here.
This book took me back to my high school years when the War on Terror was very real. Soldiers were constantly being deployed. The Middle East, terrorist groups, and war were terrifying concepts to wrap my young mind around. And Kristin Hannah’s portrayal of this time period is perfectly in line with my memories. I had a couple of friends who were deployed in the mid-2000s with whom I regularly communicated with while they were in the Middle East. It definitely takes a toll on the brave men and women fighting in a foreign place away from family and friends which was evident throughout the pages of Home Front.
I don’t know how Kristin Hannah manages to write books with such utterly different and diverse subject matter, and do it with expert execution. She is remarkable. And I cannot wait to read the rest of her work!