Previously titled Homefront, Pretty Much True is the story of Mia, a young woman waiting back home while her boyfriend, Jake, is fighting a questionable war in Afghanistan not too long after September 11th, 2001. It's as though Mia's life is at a standstill, unable to do much until Jake returns. She has her cat, Chancey for comfort and perhaps a welcoming distraction, but the Christmas lights stay up long after the holiday is over. She simply doesn't have the ambition to move forward while Jake is not there with her, and the author does a fantastic job of showing just what it is like for those back home when a loved one is so far away.
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Mia, who drives a cab for a living, cannot stop watching the news since it is her only means of staying in touch with what is happening thousands of miles away where Jake is. When she hears of a report that there are more casualties from the United States, it is as though she is holding her breath, waiting for that dreaded knock on her door giving her the bad news about a forthcoming body bag.
Mia finds it difficult to show support for the war, but has to deal with Jake's mother who has six bumper stickers sporting yellow ribbons. Jake's mother wonders why Mia doesn't display her patriotism and Mia thinks it is ironic that the self-anointed patriotic woman drives a vehicle that is a gas guzzler.
Pretty Much True also delves into the faithfulness of those who are left behind. Mia thinks that a wife of one of her husband's friends is starting to live as though she were single, while she, Mia, relies on vodka and the occasional joint to get her through each day. The reader is also introduced to a soldier who is against the present war going on “over there” while there is the Vietnam veteran who felt ignored when he returned home after serving his country.
This novel is actually semi-autobiographical and the author is careful not to point fingers at whether or not our government made the right decision in sending our citizens to war. Instead, she shows what it means to be here in the States feeling helpless and on edge every hour of the day while a loved one is in harm's way.
Best part of story, including ending:
The author did a fantastic job of showing instead of telling. It is rare when we read about war from the point of view of someone waiting back home since it implies that the story may be static, which was not the case here at all.
Best scene in story:
When Mia has to deal with Jake's mother, who drives a gas guzzler car plastered with "support our troops" yellow ribbons. It is both humorous and sad.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked that Mia was written so real. She didn't do anything overdramatic, but the reader was waiting right along with her to be sure that Jake would come back home safely.