In contrast to books like Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds and Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead, where soldiers’ experiences are brought to life, What Changes Everything illuminates how war tears at those left at home. A refugee aid worker in Afghanistan is kidnapped, and his wife must decide on a course of action from across the world where no one agrees on how to proceed. How does a mother find solace when her young soldier son comes home a double amputee? A kind young man is killed at war and his mother and brother come unmoored after discrepancies behind his purple heart come to light. Almost like a short story collection, Hamilton weaves these loosely connected stories together, in a gut-puncher. At a time when most are far removed from the wars of our country, What Changes Everything serves as a reminder.
Oak Park Library is currently closed and will re-open on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.