Home Front by Kristin Hannah
Joleen is a helicopter for the National Guard. Her family doesn’t understand that she enjoys being a soldier and that her colleagues are like another family to her. When Joleen is deployed to Iraq her family is less than enthusiastic or supportive, but while she’s gone her husband and daughters begin to come to terms with Joleen’s profession and absence. Then, tragedy strikes.
When someone asks me for women’s fiction Hannah is definitely one of my go-to authors. She is great at writing about family relationships. That said, I think she may have goofed on this one. The inner struggles Joleen faces dealing with being away from home, her shattered family and her injuries, are wonderfully done. The relationship between Joleen and her husband Michael is believable as well. However, I had a really hard time believing in or liking twelve-year-old Betsy. I refuse to believe that a child raised by a strong woman like Joleen would be so selfish, childish or bratty. I understand that she would be angry and upset that her mother was going to war, but embarrassed? And when her mother came home with severe injuries would she have no understanding that life couldn’t possibly go back to normal right away? I think the reason that my dislike for this character was so strong and so jarring was that I listened to the audiobook and her whining was extremely evident. I read the last seventy pages of the book and liked it quite a bit. This is the one of those rare times I can say that I do not recommend this book on audio.