Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Reviewed by A. Klink, February 2019

The daughter of alcoholics who left her orphaned at 17, Jolene “Jo” Zarkades found her first stable family in the military. She’s served over two decades, first in the army, later with the National Guard. Now Jo’s stationed at home, taking care of her two daughters, Betsey and LuLu. Jo’s life is completely the opposite of what she had growing up, which is what she wanted. This all seemed to be true until her husband,Michael, proclaims in the heat of an argument that he no longer loves her. At that same time, Betsey was turning into a mean unempathetic person, and LuLu was begging for all of the attention. Amid the drama of it all, Jo and her best friend Tami are deployed into the unknown, the middle of the Iraq War. While Jo is away, Michael defends a veteran with PTSD facing a charge of Murder I, who killed his wife in a dissociative blackout. This causes Michael to discover his feelings for Jo again. Meanwhile, Jo is in Iraq painting a picture that all is fine, when in reality she is in the heat of the battle. Jo discovered once she got to Iraq that she was on a mission to pick up all of the injured and dead bodies, the bodies of her brothers and sisters of the military. While on one of the recovery missions, Jo and Tami are attacked by an enemy plane. Shot down and in the ash, Jo finds Tami unresponsive and drags her out. Flown to a hospital in Germany, Jo finds out that her leg might have to be amputated, and Michael shows up on top of it all. This heart wrenching novel by Kristin Hannah teaches that we need to band together and come through stronger in amongst all of the tragedies that may affect us.