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January 13, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Home Front
by Kristin Hannah
Read by: Maggi-Meg Reed

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: January 31, 2012
Format: Audio CD | 15 hours
Rating: 3 of 5

Michael and Jolene have been married for 12 years, have two children and live in the suburbs. Their once happy marriage is falling apart. Jolene would do anything to hold it together while Michael is avoiding conflict by working long hours at his law firm. The one thing Jolene couldn’t plan for was that her unit would be deployed to Iraq.

As a helicopter pilot in the National Guard, her duty to her country comes first. Michael has never supported Jolene’s military service and now she has left him to handle the responsibility of their two girls and the household. The children are devastated but Jolene sends cheery letters home and doesn’t tell her family of the dangers she experiences each day. But when tragedy strikes they must deal with a new reality.

Kristin Hannah has taken the subject of military service and its stressful effect on families and turned it around giving us a look at what can happen when a woman, a wife and mother, is deployed. The story is written from both Jolene and from Michael’s perspective; the stress the deployment puts on Jolene and the lessons Michael is learning about what it means to be a father and to be married to a soldier. At the same time Michael takes on a pro bono defense case of a soldier suffering PTSD giving him a better understanding of what it’s like to spend time at war.

The book spotlights an important, timely and all too real topic, but I wasn’t expecting such an emotional and depressing story. It was beautifully written, but at times I found myself not liking the main characters and the children were unbearably whiny. I realize the author was attempting to show how difficult it is for children in this situation, how they have trouble in school and are taunted by their friends, but at times it seemed unrealistic. I wanted to be sympathetic but frequently ended up annoyed.

While I did like the book, I wanted to enjoy it a lot more than I did. It had the elements I look for in a story about modern military family life, but at times it fell flat for me becoming overly drawn out and too sentimental. I listened to the audio which was read by Maggi-Meg Reed. It was nicely performed and her voice is pleasant to listen to. The story line is easy to follow making it a good choice for an audiobook.

I know others will disagree with some of my thoughts as this book is already getting rave reviews. I agree that it is well researched, well written and timely, but even a good book won’t click with me if I can’t connect with the characters.
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Review copy provided by the publisher.

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10 Comments

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  1. Mary / Jan 13 2012 7:44 am

    I read a similar review yesterday, Leslie. I need to feel a connection to the characters as well.

    Like

    • Leslie / Jan 13 2012 9:32 am

      I hate when that happens because I like the author and the subject appealed to me.

      Like

  2. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) / Jan 13 2012 8:23 am

    I don’t like books that are overly sentimental. I still might give this one a try though.

    Like

    • Leslie / Jan 13 2012 9:32 am

      Do give it a try. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it.

      Like

  3. DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks) / Jan 13 2012 3:37 pm

    I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, I still haven’t read any Kristin Hannah.

    Like

  4. Suko / Jan 13 2012 6:34 pm

    Well-written and honest review, Leslie!

    Like

  5. laurelrainsnow / Jan 14 2012 9:11 am

    I’ll be getting this book at the end of the month…hope I connect with it more than you did! But I do have problems when characters are unlikeable. I especially don’t enjoy whiny kids!

    Thanks for sharing….

    Like

    • Leslie / Jan 14 2012 9:58 am

      The characters had a lot of flaws. This would make a good book for a discussion group. A lot of good topics to take from it. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

      Like

  6. TheBookGirl / Jan 14 2012 10:02 am

    I read Hannah for the first time last year — Night Road — which I loved. I haven’t read any of her other books, though, and I don’t think I would try this one as I don’t tend to like things that are overly sentimental.

    Like

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