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Be Safe I Love You: A Novel [Format Kindle]

Cara Hoffman
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“A finely tuned piece of fiction . . . Be Safe I Love You is a painful exploration of the devastation wrought by combat even when the person returns from war without a scratch. The story—written with such lucid detail it's hard to believe the main character is an invention—suggests the damage starts long before the soldier reports for duty. . . . In crystalline language that conveys both the desolation of the Iraqi desert and the north country of New York State . . . this book is a reminder that art and love are all that can keep us from despair.” (Alissa J. Rubin The New York Times Book Review)

“In so many ways, we still think of warfare and soldiering as male endeavors. The plight of the female soldier remains largely out of view — in print media, on television news, even in fiction and film. Through Lauren, Cara Hoffman’s thoroughly researched and carefully crafted heroine, Be Safe I Love You illuminates the distaff side of military service and the ways that life in uniform are at once different and, at times, uncannily similar for men and women. Toward the end of this fine novel, Lauren finds a new life for herself based on her old passions, but Hoffman doesn’t give us the sense that she’s fully healed. Rather, she is, in her own way, soldiering on, a woman forever changed. . . . ‘She knew now that the difference between never and always was small,’ Hoffman writes. ‘Never and always are separated by a wasp’s waist, a small sliver of safety glass, one bead of sweat; separated by the seven seconds it takes to exhale the air from your lungs, to make your body as still as the corpse you are about to create.’” (The Washington Post)

“Beautifully written and unflinching in its honesty . . . [Be Safe I Love You] is a penetrating social critique: Hoffman paints a vivid and nuanced portrait of post-traumatic stress disorder and raises questions about class divisions (the working class being more directly affected by American warfare than anyone else). . . . A terrific story, suspenseful and smart and tender in unexpected moments, but it’s also a call to action, a heartfelt demand for us to pay closer attention to the costly fallout of violence.” (Miami Herald)

“For those of us never deployed into active duty, it is difficult to fathom the adrenaline-fueled combination of terror and anger that combat instills. We only see the aftermath, when soldiers return home, forever changed, trying to connect with a world where everyone seems flawed and fragile and uncomprehending. . . . In prose that is both powerful and poetic, Hoffman (So Much Pretty) paints a searing portrait of PTSD and the disconnect of the returning vet amid the well-meaning but clueless. . . . Even more compelling is the novel’s rare, illuminating glimpse into the distinctive experience and psyche of a female vet. Hoffman challenges us to imagine how extraordinarily difficult it must be to reconcile the innate protective instincts of the caregiver with a culture of violence and orders to kill. Yet she does that beautifully and poignantly, without destroying our hope for redemption and healing.” (The Boston Globe)

“It would be a mistake to understand Be Safe, I Love You only as a war novel. This is also a book about broken families and class and the impossible choices the working poor are too often forced to make. . . . Deeply moving and gorgeously written — raw in some places, tender in others. Lauren’s vulnerability and torment are elegantly rendered.” (Roxane Gay for Buzzfeed)

“Hoffman dazzled me (and many others) with her 2011 So Much Pretty . . . Highly recommend.” (

“There are a lot of reasons I loved Be Safe I Love You: the complex main character of Lauren, the gorgeous descriptions, the thread of mystery weaving deftly through the story. But most of all I loved it because it’s a brutal and harsh look at the difficulties of coming home after war, of trying to fit back into an old life, a mold, when you don’t fit into your own skin. It’s about losing yourself and finding yourself all over again. It is, quite simply, luminous.” (

“Tense and stunning . . . exactly what a war novel should be: not a story about battles and guns and machismo, but a tale of refreshing honesty about the harm war does to us all, women, men and children alike, not only in battle, but at home.” (Helen Benedict The Guardian (UK))

“A riveting suspense story and a frank portrayal of war’s psychic damage.” (Ms. magazine)

“Hoffman’s second novel is a fierce and nuanced tribute to women warriors.” (BBC, 10 Best Books for Spring)

“A searing, unforgettable, and beautifully written tale about the corrosive effects of war on the psyche, a contemporary version of Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried with a female protagonist.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“In this story about a female soldier returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, Hoffman (So Much Pretty, 2011) does many things well, including her depictions of sibling dynamics, setting (both upstate New York and Iraq), and the working-class mind-set. But what she does best of all is to capture the symptoms and fallout of PTSD. . . . Hoffman describes in visceral prose the disorientation, guilt, and shame of returning war vets. A page-turner that also offers impassioned social critique.” (Booklist)

“Excellent . . . describes the troubled homecoming of U.S. Army Sergeant Lauren Clay to Watertown, N.Y., from a tour of duty in Iraq. . . . Hoffman fills her tight narrative with an ominous sense of imminent violence. . . . [a] haunting page turner.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Riveting. Be Safe I Love You is haunting and rare: the story of a young female soldier returning home, torn between love and rage, unable to recognize who she once was. In lyrical, assured prose, Hoffman probes the ravages of war on the survivors, the power of forgetting, the defiance of love, and the possibility of forgiveness. Be Safe I Love You will make your heart race, and then break it.” (Reiko Rizzuto, author of Hiroshima in the Morning)

“A gorgeously written, heart-wrenching novel that explores the damage inflicted upon a veteran of the Iraq war, and the varieties of love that ultimately sustain her. Cara Hoffman’s Be Safe I Love You is a tour-de-force of literary suspense by a brilliant, fearless writer — simply the best book I’ve read in ages.” (Elizabeth Hand, award-winning author of Available Dark and Generation Loss)

Be Safe I Love You isn’t just a beautiful and unsparing tale of a soldier’s return from the Iraq War, though it is certainly that. It is a reckoning with the moral disaster of that conflict, one that no amount of news and reporting can give us because it requires more than facts. It requires the kind of imaginative transformation Cara Hoffman has accomplished here, turning the story of one young woman’s journey from working poverty to war and home again into a song of lament for a country that has lost its way.” (Adam Haslett, author of Union Atlantic and the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-nominated You Are Not a Stranger Here)

“Cara Hoffman gets it. She gets what war does to soldiers, inside and out, and she gets what they must face when they come home from war. Lauren Clay is a character readers won’t forget: determined, admirable, and so loving that even as she goes to hell and back, we are ready to go with her. A riveting novel full of compassion for veterans and those who love them.” (Helen Benedict, author of Sand Queen and The Lonely Soldier)

“It’s good to know that a female protagonist doesn’t have to be 'nice' in order to be compelling . . . In Be Safe I Love You, Hoffman pulls us in brilliantly." (

Be Safe I Love You is an important step into new territory that hopefully will blaze a trail for other writers to follow.” (

“Every once in awhile a book comes around that takes my breath away. One whose beauty knocks me off my feet, whose gorgeousness I simply can’t put into words. Today, that book is Be Safe I Love You . . . [Hoffman’s] words pack punches at the same time they’re soft and comforting; her narrative ability is remarkable, and readers will find themselves lost in the world she creates.” (

Présentation de l'éditeur

Named one of the 5 Best in Modern War Fiction, alongside The Yellow Birds and Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk —The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Lauren Clay has returned from a tour of duty in Iraq just in time to spend the holidays with her family. Before she enlisted, Lauren, a classically trained singer, and her brother Danny, a bright young boy obsessed with Arctic exploration, made the most of their modest circumstances, escaping into their imaginations and forming an indestructible bond. Joining the army allowed Lauren to continue to provide for her family, but it came at a great cost.

When she arrives home unexpectedly, it’s clear to everyone in their rural New York town that something is wrong. But her father is so happy to have her home that he ignores her odd behavior and the repeated phone calls from an army psychologist. He wants to give Lauren time and space to acclimate to civilian life.

Things seem better when Lauren offers to take Danny on a trip to visit their mother upstate. Instead, she guides them into the glacial woods of Canada on a quest to visit the Jeanne d’Arc basin, the site of an oil field that has become her strange obsession. As they set up camp in an abandoned hunting lodge, Lauren believes she’s teaching Danny survival skills for the day when she’s no longer able to take care of him.

But where does she think she’s going, and what happened to her in Iraq that set her on this path?

From a writer whom The New York Times Book Review says, “writes with a restraint that makes poetry of pain,” Be Safe I Love You is a novel about war and homecoming, love and duty, and an impassioned look at the effects of war on women—as soldiers and caregivers, both at home and on the front lines.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1903 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 305 pages
  • Editeur : Simon & Schuster (1 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00DPM8066
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°218.286 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Be Safe 19 septembre 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Beautiful. Thanks mills. I did enjoy it much. What can I add? I loved reading it on my kindle. I do take public transport which makes it easier to read, the kindle.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.4 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read! 2 avril 2014
Par Roxy Sloane - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Smart, irreverent, and frankly a kick-ass book. Lauren Clay is a returning veteran who did right by her country, her family, and now is losing her mind. She kidnaps her brother and takes him on a wild wilderness trek, and we slowly uncover what happened to her in Iraq and to her comrade Daryl. It was edge of my seat reading the whole time, but incredibly meaningful.

The relationship between Lauren and her brother, her ex boyfriend, her best friend, her father, is written with great care. Hoffman writes this story with wit, strength, integrity, and great feeling.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 BE SAFE I LOVE YOU is an important step into new territory that hopefully will blaze a trail for other writers to follow 16 avril 2014
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
On December 18, 2011, the last American troops were withdrawn from Iraq. Since then, there’s been a handful of fiction --- most notably, Ben Fountain’s BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, Kevin Powers’s THE YELLOW BIRDS and Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT --- held up as being the most accurate at capturing, on the battlefield and off, some of the more unspeakable aspects of the Iraq war. And in keeping with the tradition of “war literature,” the voices heard in those books have been resoundingly male. Cara Hoffman, author of SO MUCH PRETTY, has set out to redress that imbalance in her latest novel, BE SAFE I LOVE YOU.

Set in Watertown in upstate New York, the book opens with the unannounced return of Lauren Clay, a soldier back from nine months duty in Amarah, Iraq. Lauren is a “good girl,” smart and talented, traits that set her apart from the people she has grown up with. She also possesses a driving need to look out for others, particularly her younger brother Danny, whose welfare is jeopardized by their father, Jack, an unstable man torn apart by a failed marriage and a history of alcoholism and violent moods. Jack’s unreliability had been the primary motivation behind Lauren’s decision to enlist in the first place. She bypassed college --- and a potential career in singing --- because she needed to know that no matter what happened, Danny would have a roof over his head. Fort Drum, the local army base in Watertown, provided her with a solution, albeit at a price.

Lauren works to reintegrate into her life state-side, gingerly reconnecting with the folks she’d left behind, such as Shane, her sort-of boyfriend, and Holly, her friend from high school, a single mom who works at the local bar, The Bag of Nails. But Danny remains Lauren’s primary concern. Danny is obsessed with all things arctic, finding an escape from life at home with Jack in images of frozen landscapes he finds on the Internet. Lauren, thinking he’s too reliant on images and too disconnected from reality, hatches a plan to whisk him away from Watertown and up into Canada to bring him face to face with the harsh truth he thinks he understands. She also hopes to meet up with Daryl, a fellow soldier and friend under her command in Iraq, who has settled in Canada with his wife.

Meanwhile Dr. Klein, an army psychologist, is anxious to make contact with Lauren after discovering an overlooked detail in her final medical report that suggests she might not be ready for civilian life just yet --- that she might, in fact, be a bit unstable.

Though it’s never referred to by name, Lauren is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and in the short time she spends in Watertown --- the bulk of the book’s action spans about one week --- her behavior becomes increasingly erratic, while her patience for other people’s inability to follow her orders or live a more purpose-driven life pushes her to the brink. “She’d come home to a world of fragile baby animals,” Hoffman writes of Lauren. “Soft, inarticulate, wide-eyed morons with know-nothing epiphanies and none of them --- not one of them --- did what she said, which was beginning to grate on her, cut to the heart of how wrong things were.”

Beyond a terse description of the traumatic episode in Iraq that pushed Lauren over the edge, there’s surprisingly little in BE SAFE I LOVE YOU about the war itself or the challenges women face within the military system. And when The Bag of Nails goes up in flames and suspicion is cast on Lauren --- by then AWOL in the woods with Danny --- the book sharply detours into thriller territory and never finds its way again. It’s a shame, because Hoffman is thoroughly convincing in her depictions of Lauren’s turbulent inner life as she struggles to reclaim her identity as both an individual and an artist. The change in tone nearly flattens everything that’s come before it.

However, shortcomings aside, BE SAFE I LOVE YOU is an important step into new territory that hopefully will blaze a trail for other writers to follow. Surely, Lauren Clay’s story is not the only female soldier’s story to be told.

Reviewed by Damian Van Denburgh
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Stunningly beautiful 1 avril 2014
Par Artis Henderson - Publié sur
I've heard people say that the measure of a good story is whether it makes you miss your subway stop. This book made me wish the ride was longer, only so I could stay in the spare and beautiful world Cara Hoffman has created. Each character is so full, so real, so true, that it's impossible not to love each of them, especially the tough and vulnerable Lauren Clay. This book is stunning in every way.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Worth Buying in Hardback 14 avril 2014
Par Sarah-Hope - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Cara Hoffman’s Be Safe I Love You follows soldier Lauren Clay on her first few days home following a tour of duty in Iraq. There’s a strong arc to this story: unsatisfactory meetings with old friends and family leading to Lauren’s decision to take her younger brother on a survivalist journey through a remote area of Canada in midwinter.

Suspenseful as that narrative is, the real heart of the book is the characters and their wrestling with questions of identity. What makes this book exceptional is what people think, not what they do. Lauren, not surprisingly, has the roughest time of it, unable to drop her vigilance and expectation of command (she was an NCO) as she returns to civilian life. For her, entering the military was an economic, not an ideological, decision and she questions what exactly it was she fought for. In her old church, she redefines the faith in which she was raised:

The stained glass windows were dimly lit and she looked at them pane by pane; the long slow journey of Jesus, dragging his cross from window to window, until the Roman soldiers crucified him. It was a storyboard, she thought, like the kind you have to make and go over with your CO when you get back from a capture or kill. The stations of the cross were so everyone had their story straight, created agreement and uniformity in reporting the event. [...] Insurgent Jesus. [...] The stations of the cross made sense now, one more common war story hiding in plain sight.

The characters around Lauren struggle with their own displacements. Her high school boyfriend has moved on to college and resents reminders of his working class origins. Her best friend’s early motherhood has limited her to minimum-wage jobs despite her outstanding high school record. There are “the Patricks” three brilliant, but failed men and a choir director who lost a promising career to alcoholism. All of these characters are drawn with a detail and honesty that makes them simultaneously sympathetic and irritating.

If I were to call any book I’ve read this year a “must read,” it would be this one. The examination of the price paid by those who go to war on our behalf and of the compromises made necessary by poverty is rich—as is the prose in which it is presented.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 But this is not a point Be Safe I Love you engages directly 6 mai 2014
Par J. Frankel - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
"Because crying only gets you half way there, duh."
Cara Hoffman's second novel is a coming home story. The hook is the soldier returning from war is a woman. This is in and of itself important and noteworthy and accounts for one half of the response to this novel from women readers. Women are fighting wars and women suffer from the same suite of pathologies men do. Arguably their experience both in the world and the military compounds this situation. Men suffer the silence of the returned; women suffer the silence of their gender. But this is not a point Be Safe I Love you engages directly.
Lauren Clay is a woman who has fought for a year in Iraq. Like many young working class women (she is around 20), she has been caring financially and emotionally for her family, and her choice is determined by that: she wants the signing bonus, she wants the training, she wants money for her family, right away. It is also the culture of the upstate New York town she grew up in: Watertown, home of Fort Drum. Watertown, a grimy, blue collar city, does not just host the base, but delivers countless numbers of its own to the military. Many of the people in her life, her choir master Troy, her uncle PJ, her boyfriend Shane's uncles, The Patricks, have served and all are damaged by that service.
Hoffman is careful to note that Lauren Clay has been treated well by her community and the military. She has not been raped or even experienced significant sexual harassment in the military, and her singing voice, gorgeously described by Hoffman, is recognized by Troy. Even her father, clinically depressed after her mother abandons the family, is a caring and loving man. What happens to Lauren Clay happens not because she is a neglected, abused, poor woman, but because she is trained to give and obey orders to kill.
Once conditioned to obey and kill, and having experienced a year of combat, she cannot make the adjustment to civilian life. She doesn't even want to. Rather than pick up where she left off, accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music, she wants to take her beloved brother Danny, now 12, with her to live in northern Canada, where Daryl, her best friend from the army, lives with his wife and child. It is a life Lauren has idealized. What follows is a tragic unfolding of one young woman's confrontation with the truth, a confrontation she has not avoided, but rather been blinded to by her own intense love and post-traumatic stress. In this detailed, emotional narrative the words `post-traumatic stress' take on flesh and sinew, the reader feels the synapses misfire. Every sentence is balanced on a point. Beneath the point lies an underworld of violence and chaos.
In some ways Be Safe I Love You picks up where her last book ended: I can imagine Alice Piper, the young anti-heroine of So Much Pretty, signing up and going to Iraq. Violence is Hoffman's great subject. In her writing she is fascinated and appalled by it, and by the male right to commit acts of violence. The position women assume, both as victim and witness to male violence, drives her imagination. There is in Hoffman a crusading, muckraking journalist out to expose injustice. But there is a much darker shade to her art, for she is able to inhabit this violence and the horror and regret it leads to.
But there is another aspect to her writer's DNA that emerges more clearly in this book and accounts for the unbearable emotional energy of the last third: that is the intense love of childhood and adolescent friendship. Danny and Lauren live in a utopia of pilfered food, inside jokes, adversity turned on its head. They listen to David Bowie on a TURNTABLE. They have a secret code of communication. They read like Nabakovian prodigies. A favorite fairytale is The Snow Queen. "A story in which a speck of glass--a speck of broken mirror--causes all the trouble." It is a story about a little boy and girl who get lost in the frozen waste of The Snow Queen when a speck of a shattered, evil mirror enters the little boy's eye. He is rescued by his friend, whose tears wash the speck from his eyes. Danny, thinking about his childhood adventures, his obsession with the North Pole and the arctic, remembers this story and thinks, "Smaller things seemed more important now, a microscopic world beneath this one, beneath all worlds, inside your own body. There was no real way for a person to be alone, he thought. Every single person is a vast crowd of other living things, a universe....It was the grain of mirror that really mattered in the Snow Queen, and the drop of salt water that washed it away."
The drop of salt water is the grace we all live by. And it is the grace evoked in this book as Lauren fulfills her plan and takes Danny off in a car full of military survival supplies, into the far north, in search of Daryl and a better life. In Lauren's eye is a single grain of burning sand.
Her sentences are sensuous and visually stunning. There is a musical structure to the story, building through counterpoint, harmony, and movement to a devastating emotional climax that left me speechless. How great it is to read a novel that is both socially engaged and important, as only the novel can be, and also a beautiful work of art.
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