[Audiobook] Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Published January 31, 2012 by St. Martin’s Press
Audiobook by Macmillan Audio | Narrator Maggi-Meg Reed
388 pages | 15:00:00 duration
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Source: ALAMW | Donation to Library
Rating: Liked It

In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.
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.
At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope. (Source: Goodreads)

I think this may be one of the first books that the story kept me listening. I am usually character driven. Great characters can get me through a story that has gaps or flaws. The characters of Home Front annoyed me. It could have been the writing, on purpose so you understand why this family is falling apart, or how they were portrayed in the reading.

Jolene was super mom before she was deployed for Iraq. She was obnoxiously positive and perfect. Her parents sucked and she was going to be the best mother, wife and soldier she could be. Jolene hid all her worry, fear and negative emotions. Hide all things that showed vulnerability, the things that help us connect with a character. In doing so, she emasculated her husband causing him to constantly feel judged.

Michael is a sucky husband and father when you meet him. He is basically absent from his family’s lives. He tells Jolene one night that he doesn’t love her any more. He doesn’t support his wife’s career in the Army. He makes no move toward reconciliation with her before her deployment, but blames her for leaving him with so much burden.

Betsy and Lulu are whiney. I cringed every time the narrator spoke their dialogue. The only two characters I really liked were Yaya, Michael’s mother, and Connie, Jolene’s physical therapist. Their voices were warm and filled with compassion.

What I stayed for was the journey. I knew it was going to be a story about war and coming home. I needed to hear this story. This is the story of so many women and men. It is very obvious that Kristin did her research in order to paint a picture that is very real. Jolene takes us through the carnage of war. Death. Loss. Grief. Guilt. We experience her nightmares and her struggles with PTSD. War changes everything. It changed Jolene. It changed her family, Michael and the girls. The question is how will this family look on the other side.

A woman’s story of war and the road back. Can she come back changed and not broken?

3 responses to “[Audiobook] Home Front by Kristin Hannah

  1. Oh I bet the story was compelling. That is the funny thing about women’s fiction–there have been times that I have absolutely stayed for the story when I couldn’t stand the characters. I never know exactly how to rank that in my mind of enjoyment factor but it does say a lot about the author if they can keep me reading when I don’t like the characters.

    • I think if I had read it & I gave them voices, I may not have hated them so much. But it is a very timely story & mostly from the female soldier’s POV, which is one I don’t see being told as frequently.

  2. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (20) | bookgoonie

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