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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on February 8, 2012
While I appreciated the focus on military families and PTSD, I was less than enamored of this particular family and their struggles with a deployment, an injury obtained in theater, the return of the military member, and just life in general.

I found Michael, the military spouse, to be extremely unlikable from the first "this war is stupid and I don't support you" moment. ESPECIALLY considering the fact that Jolene was an army reservist before they even started dating; did he mention how he felt and she said, "okay, no problem, we just won't talk about it for twenty years"? If he was so anti-military, anti-war, etc, why on earth did he marry into such a situation in the first place?

Additionally, Michael was so lost regarding how to take care of his own children that I had to wonder: What ON EARTH did he do with his two daughters when his wife was gone one weekend each month and two weeks each year? In my opinion, this is a huge flaw in the book; if he was married to a reservist then the past 11-12 years (after the children arrived), there would have been these drill absences. Sooo... it would stand to reason that he would have some idea how to care for them on his own, wouldn't it?

Also, after nearly TWO DECADES together, he was such a putz that he didn't realize the caliber of the person to whom he was married? He had no knowledge of what being a military spouse entailed? There were no pre-deployment briefs, info, classes that he would have gone to? As a military spouse, I was inundated with information from the beginning of our marriage, and am still to this day, especially prior to deployments. My husband is active duty and in a different branch of service than Jolene, but my friends who are married to soldiers have plenty of support available to them, even if they don't go to the meetings.

When I read that Michael's mother, Mila, was going to be there to help a lot as well as to practically run his household during Jolene's deployment, I thought, "LUCKY!", but noooo... It was still a disaster. Do you know how many military spouses would love to have even 1/4 of the help Mila provided? The children were spoiled and not expected to contribute to the well-being of the family. Betsy was unlikable to the point that I wondered if it would be possible to just skip over every paragraph that contained her name, but found that to be unrealistic, so plowed ahead, cringing with every bratty comment and action. I could not imagine being at the deployment staging area and witnessing a child refuse to tell the deploying parent that they love them. Jolene's 20 years as a reservist should have taught these children plenty about her job, the military, etc, but somehow her whole family remained clueless.

The issue of being in Iraq was well written, for the most part. There were obviously a lot of details provided by a soldier who'd been there (yes, I also saw the acknowledgements). However, the representation of the former US Marine, and the corps in general left a lot to be desired. Jolene's return as an injured vet was spot-on.

I realize that many of the aspects of deployment, amputation due to a war injury, difficult homecomings and PTSD are probably over-stated to a certain extent in order to make a point regarding our military and some of the obstacles and difficulties they face, but the amount of tears, defeatist attitudes, and angst began to be redundant.

While I usually enjoy Ms Hannah's books, in my opinion "Home Front" was not recommendable. I felt that the book was not only a bit trite, it was predictable and, as others have mentioned, contained too many editorial mistakes.
5959 comments155 of 186 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 29, 2012
I started this book with high expectations based on the positive reviews. I couldn't even finish (listened to audiobook version) because I became so exhausted with the never-ending unrealistic and depressing interactions between the characters. It dragged on much too long for me, the comments were predictable and I seriously got tired of the depressing atmosphere that pervaded the book. Sad relationship. Sad daughters. He doesn't love her. Of course, who didn't see the the helicopter thing coming. Feeling sorry for herself. Can't re-establish relationships. Young client who teaches her "the lesson", oh come on, seriously?? On and on...I no longer cared what happened...figured it would end with them all coming back together with the hubby learning his lesson and the mom becoming the deserving heroine. Whatever. Yes, this stuff plays out all the time in real life (I am a rehab nurse, seen lots of folks with these injuries and family dynamics). There are real life heros living this - but there was nothing real or satisfying that shone out to me in the book, it was just an endless and depressing, low-energy story.
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on January 2, 2013
I've read most of Kristin Hannah's books and was a big fan of her past work. All this changed though with Home Front. I went through the audio version of this book absolutely loathing the characters. I can't remember any other time when I wanted to physically lunge through the CD player of my car and physically slap a fictional character. I absolutely loathed the teen daughter, Betsy, and the other daughter wasn't portrayed much better. While I was sympathetic to the main character's plight I just wanted to book to be over with as the predictability and poor me attitudes just dragged on and on. Honestly, I partly blame myself as I should have just stopped listening to it once I started becoming more annoyed vs. intrigued by the storyline and how unlikeable the main characters were.
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on May 14, 2012
I've read most of Kristin Hannah's books and enjoyed them very much...until this one. I plowed through as much as I could before giving it up; my jaw was aching from clenching my teeth! This was the most self-centered, unlikeable bunch of people imaginable! The self-absorbed lawyer husband who expects his career to be taken seriously (and uses it as an excuse for everything he doesn't want to do), but cannot be bothered to take part or interest in his wife's career because of his politics (again, all about him). The bratty kids they cater to at every turn -- heaven forbid they didn't get their own way! The world revolves around them -- and the other side of that, and what irritated me above all, were these two parents who repeatedly and constantly apologized and gave in to these little tyrants. A sequel to this book might be in order....when Betsy and Lulu grow up, how they handle the professor who doesn't make an exception for a late term paper, the boss who won't give them the day off they wanted, and their own little monsters who terrorize them with "I'm going to throw a tantrum" at every opportunity. The mother-in-law was a darling, but (as one reviewer noted) an absolute failure at making her son act like the husband and father he should be. I know that every book can't be filled with happy storylines and wonderful, thoughtful people (and I wouldn't want them to be -- what boring reading that would make!), but this one just seems overfilled with negative characters. I love to read for pleasure.... but this was no pleasure at all.
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on June 7, 2012
I have never written a review on a book, possibly because although I love many novels, I have never felt very compelled to take the time to write something either positive or negative. I read Home Front on the beach with some friends over Memorial Day weekend. I thought it made sense going with the theme of the book, the war and a mother's deployment. I had read some reviews that said the characters in this book were not very likable and you didn't root for them. I felt the exact same way. I typically love Kristen Hannah books and love reading about families, but this family was very difficult to relate to. I felt bad for Jolene, but the story wasn't deep enough to make me feel anything more. I thought the entire book was depressing and I was thrilled that I was done when it was over. That's not how I like to feel at the end of a book. I will give Hannah another try, but for all her loyal reader's out there, I would skip this one.
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on June 5, 2012
I have liked other of Hannah's books but I thought the characters in this one were whiney and completely unsympathetic. I didn't finish the book because I got tired of the constant "poor me" attitude.
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on July 15, 2013
I listened to the audio version (which by the way was truly HORRIBLE)!
Home Front is a story about a military family in crisis. It starts out by introducing us to Michael & Jolene. Their marriage is already drifting apart and when Jolene is deployed it crumbles.
The story begins giving a description of Jolene's troubled past as a youth, and give insight to why Jolene has become the woman she is, and then we fast foward to her loveless marriage...
I come from a pretty dysfunctional military family, so take my word for it, this book is very over the top, over dramatized, and tries to play on the reader's emotions.
I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was to listen to this book, but I perservered. Some parts of the book were drawn out and very repetative (it's also pretty bleak & depressing throughout the story).
The details of her deployment and the time spent in Iraq was decently written, but the author spent so much time repeating herself so it was hard to focus at times.
The sheer brattiness of her older daughter was just too much for me...
The book falls short on so many levels and PLEASE don't listen to the audio book it is SHEER TORTURE, so if you feel like you just HAVE to read this book please don't waste one red cent on it, borrow it from the library for free!
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on February 1, 2012
Maybe I expected too much after Hannah's brilliant NIGHT ROAD and most of her other books. I found the story to be incredibly predictable and cliche. The premise of the story is a good one, but this story lacks the originality found in most of Hannah's books. I don't want to say too much detail about what was predictable, for fear of spoiling the book. The character of Michael is the most well rounded and well written, because he's a flawed good guy. His major flaws--workaholism, poor communication skills--are sophisticated and nuanced. The book, however, is written in the POV of Jolene. She lacks the depth necessary to make her a character I truly cared about. She's the perfect soldier, the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect snoozer. The younger daughter seems poorly researched. I don't know of any 4-year-olds who play paddy-cake, though this game was central to the girl's arc. The older daughter Betsy, 12 years old, bullied by the mean girls, yet wants to be one, bullies the son of Tami, her mother's best friend and fellow soldier. You can guess what happens in the end Betsy and Tami's son.
Hannah did a good job of describing Jolene's PTSD reactions and didn't flinch from the devastating psychiatric condition, however Jolene's recovery from her war injuries follow a predictable cliche-brave person gets hurt, brave person feels sorry for herself, brave person rises above.
I know from reading almost all of Hannah's books that she is capable of better stories.
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on December 12, 2013
This book is full of every cliché, and then some. The characters are so mundane, depressing and unlikeable. I got the book in audio format and it is just horrible. I love to read and when I cannot read, I listen to audio books in my car. I swear, the reader of this book could not be more depressing - perhaps it is the storyline, which is so predictable and god awful. I admire and appreciate our military and I come from a military family - but thank God, I don't see any of my family members in this book. My dad went to war, I understand that - it just seems like the family Ms. Hannah created must represent every miserable, depressed, etc., etc. person in her life. I am on CD#8 of the book - and I don't think I can finish listening to it - it is that bad.
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on August 2, 2015
Kristin Hannah has many well written novels, but this is not one of them. She really needed to do her homework before writing this book. While the concept of the story was not bad, I couldn't get over the inaccuracies and the canned stereotypes throughout this story. Perhaps she looked into military aviation, Iraq deployments, and helicopters, but there were aspects about military life, military couples, female soldiers, and PTSD that she got wrong. Additionally, she created a negative stigma about soldiers with PTSD. She made it seem like all soldiers with PTSD are extremely unbalanced and will snap at some point, therefore adding to the problem and people's skewed perceptions of PTSD and soldiers. This is why soldiers don't seek treatment and don't want to talk about their problems or experiences from deployment. If you read this book, please understand that not all military families are like this, not all female soldiers are like this, and not all soldiers have PTSD like this. I would suggest reading a different Kristin Hannah novel.
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