The Road Home

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Rebecca, a young nurse stationed in Vietnam during the war, must come to grips with her wartime experiences once she returns home to the United States.

Rebecca, a young nurse stationed in Vietnam during the war, must come to grips with her wartime experiences once she returns home to the United States.

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Rebecca, a young nurse stationed in Vietnam during the war, must come to grips with her wartime experiences once she returns home to the United States.

Rebecca, a young nurse stationed in Vietnam during the war, must come to grips with her wartime experiences once she returns home to the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Opening in an Army emergency room in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, this novel gives readers an unforgettable glimpse of the everyday carnage of war. Army nurse Rebecca Phillips (first introduced in White's pseudonymously written Echo Company series) relies on Darvon, amphetamines, Coca-Cola and booze-not to mention her own indomitable spirit-to get through the grueling hours caring for wounded and dying young soldiers. A perfectionist with a tart tongue and fondness for old movies, Rebecca wrestles with despair about the war, guilt and responsibility; she also has a difficult romance with Michael Jennings (also of the Echo Company books), a ``grunt'' who is severely wounded before his discharge. Numb and confused following her own return to the States, Rebecca sets out on a cross-country road trip-and ends up in Michael's hometown. Even in a novel with as much momentum as this one has (and White's wise-cracking prose style is as readable as ever), the lump-in-the-throat intensity of Rebecca and Michael's prickly reunion is striking. Inextricable from the story's anti-war theme is its fiercely compassionate loyalty to the people who served in Vietnam, making this an intriguing complement to such novels as Marsha Qualey's Come In from the Cold. Ages 13-up. (Mar.)q
The ALAN Review - Marjorie M. Kaiser
Realities of U.S. Army field hospitals, like those portrayed on the television shows MASH and China Beach, come alive in Part I of this sensitive and insightful story of young Army nurse Rebecca Phillips. At 21, Phillips must face not only the brutalities of the Vietnamese War and the slaughter and maiming of innocent young soldiers but also her own physical injuries, emotional exhaustion, and the deterioration of her relationship with her family back home, torn apart by the conflicting local and national views of U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. In Part II, Phillips' tour is over, and she is back home in Massachusetts, trying to reconnect with family and former friends and struggling to rediscover who she is and what she most values. Though long, The Road Home will absorb older teens because of its rich blend of realism and romance, its in-depth character exploration, and its fast-paced style filled with dialogue and action. Here is a stunning portrait, too, of the role of capable women in military situations.
School Library Journal
Gr 8-12-A gripping book set during the late 1960s. Shortly after finishing nursing school, Becky Phillips, 21, goes to Vietnam, where she has been ``in country'' for almost a year. Her daily tasks involve horror and blood as the choppers unload countless wounded GIs. She is plagued by many demons, including surviving an attack on a helicopter and watching as two friends died. She and Michael, one of the young soldiers in the company, begin writing, and a romance develops. Then he is brought to the ER, and the cocky, confident kid she has come to know is now an angry, embittered young man who is sent home. Finally, it is time for Becky to return to her former world. In a particularly moving scene, a businessman in the airplane seat next to her all but recoils at the sight of her uniform. Once home, after spending her days in her room and her nights drinking on the living-room couch, she heads West, finds Michael, and tries to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. White's account makes readers feel the agony of Vietnam...not just the horror of war, but the pain of knowing that those who served and suffered were despised by a large part of the society that sent them there in the first place.-Evelyn Carter Walker, Alexandrian Public Library, Mt. Vernon, IN
Library Journal
While I make a point of not including out-of-print titles in this column, I am making an exception for this unforgettable story of an army nurse's journey home from Vietnam. On the day two of her best friends are killed, Rebecca loses both her moral virginity and her sense of humor. She has withstood weeks in triage without sleep, hopped up on amphetamines, making life-and-death decisions without time to consider the consequences. Until she meets Mike. Her romantic interest in the young soldier is complicated by her fear that one day he will arrive in her emergency room. Her fears are realized, and Mike is sent home without a leg, leaving her alone to endure the remainder of her tour. Nothing she has experienced prepares her for the pain of coming back to her life in Boston-back to face a disapproving father, a dead fiancé, and a brother gone to Canada to avoid the draft. Only Mike (an alcoholic shell of his former self) understands her confusion, and the two navigate the path together on "the road home." This work and White's brilliant "Echo Company" series are well worth the time spent hunting them down through the secondary book market and interlibrary loan.—Angelina Benedetti, "35 Going on 13," BookSmack! 8/19/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590467384
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 469
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Road Home

    After losing the love of her life/childhood sweetheart to the Vietnam war and her beloved brother who flees to Canada to escape the draft, Ivy Leaguer Rebecca Phillips impulsively joins as a nurse and is assigned one year of active duty in Vietnam. Still hurting from her profound loss and estrangement from her family, Rebecca is forced to daily face the challenges of the emergency room where she and her co-workers try to save the men (boys really) who have been bombed, shot at, set on fire, or just gotten sick from the various diseases lurking in the jungle. If that weren't enough to mess with someone's head, after impulsively jumping in a helicopter (which she should never have gotten on in the first place) and being shot down over the jungle, Rebecca spends several days MIA in the jungle fleeing for her life until she stumbles upon a squad of American soldiers. Among the soldiers is Michael, a surly grunt, whose letters become a lifeline to Rebecca after her return to the hospital. Michael is so real to me - his fears and glimpses of hopes are all contained in his letters and just like Rebecca couldn't wait to read his latest. Upon her return from Vietnam, Rebecca comes home to find herself, her family and friends all changed beyond recognition. Her struggle to find her place is the World after being a part of such brutality and pain is what makes Rebecca's story so breathtaking.

    White's characters were so solid. Of course I loved Michael but one of my favorites is the cerebral Major, one of the head nurses at the field hospital. Her perfectness is legendary but so is her leniency with Rebecca. I most enjoyed their night time conversations - often requiring major mental gymnastics - where Major Doyle brought such depth and honesty to Rebecca's questions.

    I really don't know much about the Vietnam war. It seems to me they sort of glossed over that section in history (it was bad and lots of people died. the end). I knew there was plenty of controversy and that veterans were not treated with respect but I really didn't understand how it all fit together until I read this powerful book. Rebecca's story is full of loss and utter depression but her journey for a chance at happiness and hope was just so real to me.

    On a side note, I did feel like I had stumbled into the book mid-series and kept wondering if I was missing something. Turns out I was right. Ellen Emerson White (writing as Zack Emerson) wrote a series of four books called The Echo Company which follows Michael's company. It turns out White felt like she had to finish Rebecca's story (which begins in these books) and thus wrote The Road Home as a sort of conclusion. They are pretty hard to find, but I am hoping to get my hands on what will surley prove to be excellent reading.

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  • Posted November 19, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Angieville: THE ROAD HOME

    This book is one of my all-time top comfort reads. I know. Historically accurate, minutely researched Vietnam War novel=comfort read? you ask incredulously. What can I say? My favorite characters tend to endure mountains of suffering before attaining (hopefully) a modicum of happiness. Lt. Rebecca Phillips is no exception. What a heroine she is. A Radcliffe-educated nurse, Rebecca comes from stalwart, intellectual New England stock. She's the last person anyone expects to enlist in the Army and voluntarily get herself shipped off to Vietnam. But after the boy she loves is killed in the war and the brother she idolizes flees to Canada to escape the draft, Rebecca has to do something to deal with the pain and confusion that suddenly is her life. <BR/><BR/>The War, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a million times worse than her worst nightmare, and gets progressively worse until Rebecca finds herself racing for her life through the jungle on a broken ankle, having been shot down in a helicopter she never should have been on in the first place. Yeah. White doesn't pull any punches and Rebecca goes through hell and back again before she finds herself home once more, utterly unable to deal with the ramifications of The War and the friends she gained and lost there. And Michael is at the top of the list. Michael Jennings--the bad-tempered private Rebecca meets while MIA in the bush. The second half of the novel follows Rebecca's stilted attempts to reconnect with her family and Michael. To somehow fit together the pieces of her two lives: Before and After The War. It's a tour de force, in my opinion. White's prose and dialogue are as rapid-fire as ever and my pulse races every time I read it. Rebecca and Michael are such wonderfully strong, tangible characters. They deserve every scrap of happiness they can get.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2004

    The Best Historical Fiction Book Ever.

    This book is THE best book ever anyone who has read it would probably agree with me. This book is about a girl (Rebecca Phillips) who joins the army to solve her problems when infact it does, but she is no longer her cheery old self,she has seen the war and hates it. Anyone who likes historical fiction should read The Road Home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003


    I loved The Road Home It's one of my favorite books! I love the fact that Rebecca and Michael hook up in the end. I think thats the best part of the whole book. I would recommend this book to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2003

    I can't put it down!

    I have read this book soo many times I can never put it down. I love the author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2002

    Loved It!

    I could not put this book down. I loved it so much. It has to be one of the best books I've ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2002


    I urge everyone to purchase this novel. It is the best book I have ever read in my life...and I've read plenty! I've reread this over 20 times it is so incredible. No matter what your age is, you will love it. My mom quite enjoyed it as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2001

    True Courage

    This book moved me greatly and I think that Ellen Emerson White is a fantastic author. I hope she continues to write good books. Rebecca is a strong woman who finds courage deep inside herself. I can only wish that if I were ever in her situation that I could be as strong as she was!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2001


    The Road Home is a fantastic book that one will never want to put down,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2000


    I absolutly loved this book and could not put it down. I srongly advise you check this book out! You will be hooked after the first page. The book is full of a little bit of everything love,war and more. Please if you know of any more books like this please e-mail me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2000

    It's a remarkable book!

    This book was so real to me. Anybody who reads it is sure not to put it down until the end. It's a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 1999

    Very Touching Book

    I think that this book gave a very good view into what she had to go through. I have read this book over six times and find something new each time. She has to follow the road home from Veitnam. It is a bumpy road at first but it gets better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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