My rating: (4 / 5)
It doesn’t matter if you are the staunchest patriot who will back any movement of the military or the most liberal anti-war protestor; regardless of your feelings about the actions of the U.S. in the middle east, Home Front remains a touching, heartbreaking, triumphant journey of modern war and how it affects the families left behind to maintain the Home Front.
Jolene and Tammy, like many other women today, are the soldiers in their families, and when their National Guard unit is called up for active duty in the middle eastern conflict, they are forced to leave behind husbands who are confused about how to function in their lives without their wives, and children who desperately need their mothers. Their journey is poignant and raw, their emotions brought forward into sharp focus and their road through war difficult and humbling and extraordinary.
But going off to war is only the beginning. While her husband, an attorney, fights for the defense of a soldier with PTSD charged with murdering his wife, Jolene returns home a completely different woman who is having a hard time fitting back into the empty place she left behind at home. Her edges are sharper, her emotions have changed, and her reactions to her children completely different from what “Mommy” used to do; her youngest opines that “Mommy doesn’t love us anymore” in one heartbreaking scene.
This book brought a lot of emotions to the surface for me. My family has been touched greatly by the war in the middle east, with the loss of my cousin, Tommy Gilbert. But you don’t have to be a soldier or have one in your family to relate to the themes of this book. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel emotionally betrayed, or to be lost emotionally when you don’t think your spouse understands you, or how it can hurt when you can’t be everywhere you want to be and do everything you want or need to do in your life.
This wasn’t a fast or easy or fun read for me, but it was a worthwhile and touching read. I cried. I hugged it, hard. And I came to love Jolene and Tammy and their families. I think you will, too.