Donald V. Watkins
“Home Again”: A Real Tearjerker
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on February 8, 2021
I am not a book reviewer, but I have plenty of time to read a wide array of interesting books. I recently read Kristin Hannah’s “Home Again”, Ballantine Books (1996). It’s a memorable story of love and redemption. Make sure you get a box of tissues when you start reading this book.
Here’s the storyline:
Madelaine Hillyard is a world-famous heart surgeon at the top of her game. Her personal life is less successful. A loving but overworked single mom, Madelaine is constantly at odds with her teenage daughter. At sixteen, Lina is confused, angry, and fast becoming a stranger to her mother – a rebel desperate to find the father who walked away before she was born. Complicating matters for Madelaine are the vastly different DeMarco brothers. While priest Francis DeMarco is always ready to lend a helping hand, his brother, Angel, long ago took on the role of bad boy. Years earlier, Angel got Madelaine pregnant as a teenager. He abandoned Madelaine – and fatherhood – to go in search of fame and fortune. His departure left Madelaine devastated, but now Angel reappears and seeks help from the very people he betrayed – as a heart patient in need.
Kristen Hannah has written a moving, powerful novel about the fragile threads that bind together our lives and the astonishing possibility of second chances.
I cried over and over again while reading this book. I thought about the thousands of patients my heart surgeon brother saved in the early 1980s with his innovative automatic implantable defibrillator. During the early years, many of Levi, Jr.’s white heart patients expressly stated to Johns Hopkins Hospital executives and nurses that they did not want a “nigger doctor” operating on their hearts. They had no choice – it was either Levi, Jr.’s implantation of his defibrillator or death. Because Levi, Jr. loved his patients – even the ones who hated him – he saved their lives and gave them a second chance at becoming a better human being. Years later, at a reunion of Levi Jr.’s patients, I met scores of these patients who regretted their earlier racist views and who were finally able to return Levi, Jr.’s unconditional love. There is no force on earth more powerful than unconditional love for humanity.
Maybe this is why Kristin Hannah’s “Home Again” was so moving to me. Anyway, if you enjoy GP-rated tearjerkers, this is the book for you.
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