By Kristin Hannah
A Moving Story and An Extraordinary Main Character
In 1965, when Frankie McGrath's brother left for Vietnam, she decided to join the Army Nurse Corps on impulse. However, upon arriving in Vietnam, she was taken aback by the chaos and destruction of the war. To survive, she had to quickly adapt to the bombs, blood, and battle to save the wounded.
When she returned home in 1969, the political situation surrounding the war had turned. She was spit on in the airport, and her parents were ashamed of her service. Frankie struggled to adjust and was desperately seeking help. Her only option was to reach out to those she had served with, as they were the only ones who could truly understand what she had gone through.
The Women is a one-person fictional account of what the women serving in Vietnam faced both during and after their service. Despite the horrors they met, the women stood strong and saved lives. They made a difference in the world and forever altered who they were and would become.
The Women is a compelling, thoughtful, and moving story by Kirsten Hannah. It follows the life of Frankie, an ordinary young woman who does extraordinary things during the Vietnam War. Hannah’s writing is full of details and vivid descriptions.
What stands out most is Frankie's character development. She starts as a naive and frightened young woman but gradually evolves into a strong and vocal supporter of women who served, but not without many bumps and bruises along the way. Particularly enjoyable was when Frankie had to take charge of the operating room and guide a new doctor in surgery during a bombing attack.
While reading about Frankie's treatment when she returned from Vietnam was difficult, it seems to be an honest portrayal of what many women experienced during that time. Sadly, women returning from war were often told by the government that “no women ever served in Vietnam,” which was a low point in our nation's history.
I received an advance reading copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Published February 6, 2024