Sunday, February 18, 2024

Book Review: "The Women" by Kristin Hannah

So, maybe you’ve seen this book around once or twice? I’m definitely a fan of Kristin Hannah’s, but I need to be in a specific frame of mind for the emotional journeys she takes you on. I’m pleased to say, however, that this so utterly lived up to all the hype—it was simply fantastic.

“How did you know if you had the strength and courage for a thing like that? Especially as a woman, raised to be a lady, whose courage had been untested.”

Frances “Frankie” McGrath was raised a daughter of privilege, living on Coronado Island. She was working as a nurse, at least until she got married. But in 1966, at age 20, inspired by her older brother going to Vietnam, Frankie does the unheard of and enlists, becoming an Army nurse.

The book follows Frankie in country, through the harrowing injuries and deaths she saw, the wounded Vietnamese children, and the strong bonds she formed with both her fellow nurses and other soldiers. It also deals with the trauma Frankie dealt with upon her return, both from those against the war and her own family, all of whom would rather believe that there were no women in Vietnam.

This book is graphic and very emotional, but it so beautifully pays tribute to the oft-forgotten women who served in Vietnam, and those who gave their lives. It also examines the visible and hidden scars that soldiers face, whether in combat or not. I’m always grateful to those who have served and continue to serve our country, but reading The Women makes me want to say thank you over and over again.

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