Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2018
Wow. This book just blew me away. As a mother and former soldier in the Army Reserve, married to an Infantry solider who deployed to Afghanistan, this story hit close to home. The passion for the job, the bonds you make with your fellow soldiers, the sacrifices, the pre-deployment emotions, the heartbreaks, the reality of homecoming....Hannah did an incredible job conveying all the ups and downs in a Military family. It felt so REAL. We were also both stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington so I knew the setting of the book exactly and it felt real and believable. The author did an amazing job with her research for this book, I really enjoyed the author's notes and interview with a female black hawk pilot at the back of the book.
I also spent some time working with wounded Veterans at Walter Reed and Hannah's description of recovery and PTSD was heartbreakingly accurate. We have Veteran friends dealing with many different kinds of injuries, some physical, some mental, and we've even lost friends to Veteran suicide. This is such an important story for the American people to know and understand and Hannah does a beautiful job conveying this without over-doing it. However, I would like to add that Jo would have had more support from the Army (doctors, physical therapy, psychiatrists, psychologists) after coming home.
I loved that this story was from a female soldier's perspective. Many women have fought and died in combat even though they were not (during the time this book was written) allowed in combat positions. Being a female soldier in an Army of men can be tough, and I do wish Hannah had developed this issue a little bit more. The use of "Fly girl" and "Soldier girl" didn't sit well with me. They both seemed a bit overused and too dramatic for my taste.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and have not stopped thinking about it. I have only cried reading 2 books in my life and they both happen to be by Kristin Hannah: this one and The Nightingale. She manages to convey real human emotion so well, I only hope that the scheduled movies for these two books can do the same!