Summary and book reviews of Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Home Front

by Kristin Hannah

Home Front
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2013, 432 pages

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Book Summary

Bestselling author Kristin Hannah explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.



From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore.  But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce.  Then the Iraq war starts.  An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news.   When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family.  An intimate look at the inner landscape of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic exploration of the price of war on a single American family, Home Front is a provocative and timely portrait of hope, honor, loss, forgiveness, and the elusive nature of love.



Part One
From a Distance

There are some things you learn best in calm, some in storm. — Willa Cather

Prologue
1982

The way she saw it, some families were like well-tended parks, with pretty daffodil borders and big, sprawling trees that offered respite from the summer sun. Others— and this she knew firsthand— were battlefields, bloody and dark, littered with shrapnel and body parts.

She might only be seventeen, but Jolene Larsen already knew about war. She'd grown up in the midst of a marriage gone bad.

Valentine's Day was the worst. The mood at home was always precarious, but on this day, when the television ran ads for flowers and chocolates and red foil hearts, love became a weapon in her parents' careless hands. It started with their drinking, of course. Always. Glasses full of bourbon, refilled again and again. That was the beginning. Then came the screaming and the crying, the throwing of things. For years, Jolene ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. In the prologue of Home Front, we see Jolene’s early life and the incident that leads up to her parents’ deaths. How does this scene lay the groundwork for her personality and her choices in the remainder of the book?

  2. When Michael says, “I don’t love you anymore,” he wonders fleetingly if he’d said the words so that Jolene would fall apart or cry or say that she was in love with him. What does this internal question reveal about Michael? About Jolene?

  3. When Jolene learns of her deployment, she is conflicted. She thinks that she wants to go (to war), but that she doesn’t want to leave (her family). Can you understand the dichotomy she is experiencing? Discuss a mother’s deployment and what it ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

A passionate story of war's cost to a family and the cost of silence. She weaves the two sides of a soldier's heart: the damage and the horror inflicted upon it, the honor and pride that make it beat. Jo is a hero, and her life from its start is a hero's journey--psychological, spiritual, physical. It's made with others--family, the Guard, Tami--and it's a journey that we are privileged to share.

Author Blurb Shelf Awareness, Marilyn Dahl
Kristin Hannah has written a passionate, inspired story of war's cost to a family; even more, the cost of silence. She seamlessly weaves the two sides of a soldier's heart--the damage and the horror inflicted upon it with the honor and pride that make it beat--in Jolene. She is a hero, and her life is a hero's journey, psychological and spiritual and physical. It's made with others--family, the Guard, Tami--and it's a journey that we are privileged to share.

Reader Reviews

Louise J

The Tragedies of War...
Home Front is a hard book to read but reminds us how thankful we need to be to any and all soldiers/members of the military and recognize that they are putting their lives on the line for us. I don’t know that those of us who are non-military ...   Read More

Lynne

Homefront
Michael and Jolene loved each other once but now somehow their marriage was falling apart and their two daughters were experiencing the collision. An untimely deployment for this military family sent Jo flying away to serve her country in a way she ...   Read More

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