The Women

📖 The Women
✍🏻 Kristin Hannah
📚 St. Martin’s Press
⭐️ 5/5
📄 464 pages

Thank God for girlfriends. In this crazy, chaotic, divided world that was run by men, you could count on the women.

Kristin Hannah, The Women

♡ Nursing background
♡ The trio best friends
♡ Coming of age

Kristin Hannah is an exceptional author and remains to be one of my favorites.

The Women is a historical fiction set during and after the Vietnam War. Frances “Frankie” Mcgrath impulsively joins the Army Nurse Corps in 1965 trying to follow her brother in Vietnam after just receiving her nursing degree. However, after enlisting in the army, she learns that her brother had been killed in action. “No remains.” Frankie suddenly found herself way over her head. Part one of the book illustrates the experiences Frankie faced being a surgical nurse in Vietnam – the tragedy she faced and the friendship that was created from war. Upon surviving two tours and a few love interests, she returns back home to Coronado, California where she was welcomed with name-calling and being spat on. Part two covers the effects of the war on Frankie and how it affected her physically and mentally. After being at war, Frankie experienced PTSD and started to have a drug and alcohol addiction. Everywhere she goes to ask for help, she was declined and was told, “There are no women in Vietnam.” She wasn’t welcomed at home either where she faced backlash. Frankie spiraled into a life filled with ups and downs.

Where does Frankie belong?

I cried. I laughed. And I cried some more. It was written in such a way that just gut-wrenches your soul. It is an important story that’s often forgotten about women and their roles in the Vietnam War. Such a deep, emotional narrative with vivid representation – this book surely captured my heart strings.

In a way, I relate to Frankie. It wasn’t a war, but I had just graduated nursing school and 6 months later, COVID-19 happened. I had no idea what life would be like. I was terrified of being at work – that I would bring this deathly virus home, especially with a newborn at home. I was a nurse liaison in a cardiovascular surgical department and was pulled from that role and floated to different areas of the hospital where nurses were needed most. I was afraid. This is my calling, and so… I had to face it head on. “No fear, McGrath.” I ended up being needed in the emergency room. This was where I helped a mom deliver a baby for the first time. Then, I started having to do covid tests on patients back at my department, while being trained on becoming a pre-op nurse. That seemed like a lifetime ago. I no longer practice nursing, but, maybe one day, I’ll be back.

Highly recommend!

*Difficult topics are mentioned, so I do encourage you to check any trigger warnings ahead.

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