Review: Home Front

Why I picked it: Everyone I know who reads Kristin Hannah loves her novels.  I wasn't planning to read this book but picked up the audio from my local library.

Synopsis: All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .

Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life—-children, careers, bills, chores—-even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own—-for everything that matters to his family.

Type: fiction

Quick Take: At the core, this is an important story. I don't know anyone personally who has been deployed, the impact of deployment has on a family, returning home with an injury, and life after deployment is new to me. I'm aware of the personal struggles but haven't thought about how hard it can be to accept things and move on (and when it's okay not to move forward). This novel pay a lot of attention to the emotional toll deployment has on a family that is broken before deployment... making life after a return home even more challenging.

For me, this book has an important message but it's a slow paced bummer of a novel (in the middle).  I listened to it which didn't let me skim through the whining, something I would had done had I been reading a paper copy.  I also don't know any children who act like Betsy, she's horrible/whiny from the beginning to the end.  It took away from the story a bit. I was tired of Betsy's whining and Jolene's feeling sorry for herself. 

Jolene is not an upbeat/happy person.  With a tough childhood and we are constantly reminded that she's unhappy (life has let her down somehow).  After she returns home...I kept waiting for her to read her email. I know people react differently in situations but since she was so unhappy at home, she most likely would have reached out to her 'family' after returning home.  She would have read Michael's email and much of to second half conflict would have been avoided.

Have you read it? Did the whining come across in the written novel (vs listening)?

Rating: 3 stars (for the importance of the story)
Source: Library (audio)