Review: Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman


Title: Be Safe I Love You

Author: Cara Hoffman

Published: Simon & Schuster April 2014

Status: Read from March 27 to 28, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Be Safe I Love You is a moving story of a young female soldier’s homecoming after service in Iraq. Lauren Clay enlisted in the army after her high school graduation in order to provide financial security for her younger brother and depressive father. After five years of service her commitment is finished and she has returned home to Watertown, NJ, fresh from a nine month tour in Afghanistan.

With compassion and sensitivity, Hoffman exposes the struggle many returning soldiers face in reconnecting with the people and places they left behind. Family and friends are sure Lauren just needs some time to readjust to civilian life and the inevitable changes that have happened in her absence, but it soon becomes obvious to the reader that Lauren is suffering from the more severe symptoms of PTSD as she begins to experience black outs and hallucinations.

Amongst the confusion and anger Lauren is experiencing she develops twin obsessions, to toughen up her thirteen year old brother, determined to ensure he experiences the world without the buffer of a computer screen, and to meet up with a soldier she served with and follow through on their plans to work together at the Hebron oilfields. The tension arises as Lauren struggles to keep her grip on reality, and under the guise of a visit to their mother, heads for Canada with an unsuspecting Danny in tow.

Of the entire novel what really struck me was Lauren’s thoughts about her service in Iraq …”officially women weren’t in combat. They just support. It was the same f** job as every soldier she served with, but with the added downgrade in title and pay.” In Be Safe I Love You, Hoffman honours the female experience of war, something rarely explored in fiction despite more women having been killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq than in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.

Be Safe I Love You is a thoughtful and thought provoking story, and though the conclusion is a little too neat and easy, I think it is a novel well worth your time.

Available to Purchase From

Simon & Schuster US I AmazonUS I BookDepository



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kathrynsinbox
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 19:27:15

    Sounds confronting. Will definitely be adding it to my (very long) to-read list.



  2. Mystica
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 19:54:13

    Sounds like a very interesting subject.



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