This week I've featured books about war. Most of them have been about how the family at home copes, especially the kids. Do you know of others? Please share in the comments section.
If you've read the two books by Joyce Moyer Hostetter, BLUE and COMFORT, you will see great similarities between Ann Fay and Rachel Ann in BACK HOME, discussed below. Yet, the two wars are more than half a century apart. How we fight "the war" may have changed, but the struggles at home seem much the same.
BACK HOME by Julia Keller.
Soldiers returning from war often are not the same husbands, fathers, sons, or daughters who left the home front. Rachel Ann's dad survives horrendous injuries but lives to sit slumped in his wheelchair, unable and unwilling to get better. How can a 13 year old help? Rachel Ann is the oldest. Her sister Marcy is 8 and her brother Robbie is 4. Rachel finds herself trying to smooth over all the bumps in the family’s road. She sees that her mother’s struggles are valiant but often unappreciated.
The author refers to "the quiet daily heroism of those who struggle with brain injuries." The patient is only one of those people. Keller chronicles therapy, friends and neighbors who help at first and then slowly slip away, and relatives who don’t agree with the mother’s choices for treatment and further care when improvement ends. The reader sees and feels the impact of a soldier’s traumatic brain injury on the family’s love and support. As the cover blurb says, "Dad’s war is over, but the battle’s just begun."
If you're searching for just the right book for a family going through this traumatic experience, this may be the book.