I finished reading Home Front by Kristin Hannah last week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Yes, it’s fiction and yes, it’s written for a female audience, but the topic is something all of us need to be thinking about. This is a story that impacts all of us. It’s a gripping and emotional read.
The story is about an Blackhawk pilot Army Reservist who is also a wife and mother. Real life is happening in her marriage and with her preteen daughter when she, and her best friend, are deployed to Iraq. That’s all I’m going to say about the story because I want you to experience it for yourself in all of it’s raw reality.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been raging for more than ten years. Many of us know individuals and families whose lives have been impacted forever by these wars. More soldiers are surviving horrific injuries than in previous wars. More women have been sent to war than ever before. More Reservists have been sent to active war zones for repeated tours than ever before. There is incredible support for returning vets, however no one’s really prepared for what’s really needed for them and their families when they return home.
The messy and brutal effects of war linger long after the battles are fought and everyone has returned home. War is costly, but the real cost has yet to be determined. How do you quantify the sacrifice and adjustments for experiences and wounds that only a handful will know?
That’s the value and power of Home Front. We’re drawn into a story that we can relate to with people we may know. We’re there as the intimate and agonizing decisions are made We’re witnesses to the struggle and courage that are summoned from deep within. We’re given the glimpse of a recovery process yet to be fulfilled. Most of all, we’re given a parting gift as we finish the final pages of the book: we’re changed.