To be truthful, Home Front by Kristin Hannah isn’t the kind of book I’d usually read. Her last book, about a foster girl, gripped me and was totally my “kind” of book. This one, however, was one I was willing to skip, but I forgot I preordered it so I read it anyway. It tells the story of 41-something Jolene, who is in the National Guard along with her best friend Tami (who is also Jolene’s neighbors). The two women are deployed suddenly and surprisingly to Iraq, and Jolene, whose husband told her before she left that he was done with their marriage, must deal with complicated marriage stuff while trying to still pretend for her daughters (five-year-old Lulu and tween Betsy) that all is good in dusty, war-torn Iraq. And then tragedy strikes when the chopper Jolene and Tami are traveling in is taken down, and only one woman returns home – but not the same. There may be some minor spoilers below, just so you’ve been warned.
I gave this book four stars on GoodReads but had a hard time doing so. Is it comparable to other books I’ve given four stars to on there? No way man! But when comparing it to like books, it merits the four stars. One of the reasons I rated it high, if I’m being truthful, is it caused a really, really emotional reaction in me. I’m not sure if it’s because I was hormonal and majorly in the PMS window, but the thought of having to write letters to your children in the event of your death just got me all worked up, and then the funeral scene at the end of the book? Oh good Lord, I was a mess. But military stuff like that always chokes me up. Overall, I think this book felt rushed and then at the end, it felt like it was too neatly tied up. Homegirl Kristin Hannah needs to read some Flannery O’Connor, where everyone dies or ends up miserable! I’m not against happy endings, but when the ending is something so content and the rest of the book has been an emotional rollercoaster of PTSD and death and bitchy teenagers, I call bananas on that nonsense. Also, I really, truly, with passion hated Betsy. A lot of teens/preteens act like her but holy. freaking. crap. Her character and behavior was way too over-the-top.
A good, fast beach read and fun for Hannah fans, but by no means quality or deep.