If this book is not a tear jerker, I don't know what is. I read this book in five hours in one sitting, and cried my eyes out for at least 4 of those hours.
First of all, I like that this book breaks the traditional roles of men and women by having the woman of the family being the soldier out in battle. Kristin Hannah definitely handled that well and their conflicts are entirely believable.
Another thing I wanted to point out is that Kristin Hannah does a really great job writing about long-lasting friendships and how those bonds can help people make it through tough times. Another excellent book of hers is Firefly Lane, which, if you haven't read it, is about one such friendship and how it is affected throughout the years.
The book is split into two parts, and both parts are very emotional, albeit, tugging at different emotions. I can't go into much detail here without spoilers, but the character growth is astounding, but believable as well. The two main characters are Michael and Jolene (or Jo from now on). Jolene is the soldier, the mom, the wife. Michael is her other half. Jolene is the strong one, I liked her character from beginning to end. She goes through changes, but in the end, emerges stronger than ever.
Michael on the other hand, is a weakling in the beginning. I can honestly say that I hated him, he was whiny, self-centered, and gave little to no attention to his family at all. His reasons were understandable, but I just couldn't bring myself to like such a character. Thankfully, the his growth as a character throughout the book really gives him a 180 and by the end, he becomes a likable person.
One last thing I want to mention is that this book is about war. War affects everyone; the soldier, their families and friends, and those tragedies and horrors should be more apparent and known to the rest of society. This book does that, one reader at a time. No matter what you think of the politics behind a war, always support the men and women who lay down their lives to protect those of us at home.
I'm glad I read this book, it really opened my eyes and made me appreciate the dedication our servicemen and women have.
This book has me thinking about so many things from dealing with childhood issues to communicating with family to what our heroes really deal with in the war and returning home. This powerful story is one of the best I have read in years and one that I will read over and over again.