New from Simon & Schuster

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Rebel Yell by S. C. Gwynne
Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
You Can't Make This Stuff Up by Theresa Caputo
Be Safe I Love You

Be Safe I Love You

A Novel

  • reading group guide
This widely acclaimed novel about a female soldier who returns from Iraq haunted by a tragic mistake is “beautifully written…suspenseful and smart and tender in unexpected moments” (Miami Herald) and was named one of the 5 Best in Modern War Fiction by The Sunday Telegraph.

Before she enlisted, classically-trained singer Lauren Clay had been accepted to a prestigious music conservatory, but her family’s financial demands—worsened by her parents’ divorce and her father’s declining mental health—pushed her in another direction. Joining the army allowed Lauren to provide for her family—especially her younger brother Danny, whose quirky, heartfelt letters to her overseas are signed, be safe, I love you.

When she arrives home unexpectedly, it’s clear to her friends and family that something is profoundly wrong with Lauren. But her father is so happy to have her home that he ignores her odd behavior, as well as the repeated phone calls from an army psychologist. Things seem better when Lauren offers to take Danny on a trip to visit their mother upstate, but 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. What happens there will change Sergeant Lauren Clay’s family forever, as she must finally face what she saw, and did, in Iraq.

Be Safe I Love You is “a rare, illuminating glimpse into the distinctive experience and psyche of a female vet” (Boston Globe); “a riveting suspense story and a frank portrayal of war’s psychic damage” (Ms. Magazine); and “a painful exploration of the devastation wrought by combat even when the person returns from war without a scratch…this book is a reminder that art and love are all that can keep us from despair” (The New York Times Book Review).
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451641325 | 
  • April 2015
List Price $16.00
Ships on or around April 21, 2015

Video

Cara Hoffman on Be Safe, I Love You

Cara Hoffman on writing female characters in the military, and finding beauty among unseemly landscapes.

Videos related to this book

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Be Safe I Love You includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Cara Hoffman. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Returning to her upstate New York hometown after serving in Iraq, Lauren Clay is haunted by emotional battle scars and has trouble adjusting to civilian life. She struggles to reconnect with family and friends before setting out with her younger brother on a winter road trip to visit Canada’s remote wilderness—a journey that will determine her future, for better or for worse. Be Safe I Love You is a poignant, impassioned novel about the devastating effects of war, both on the front lines and at home.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “She was back but didn’t feel so far away from Iraq,” admits Lauren (page 9). How does she see her family and friends in a new light since returning from the war zone? How do they, in turn, view her? Why are they so quick to believe that Lauren is fine or, in Jack’s case, that he can help her simply by offering snacks and a willing ear?

2. How do Lauren’s roles as soldier and caregiver become intertwin see more

About the Author

Cara Hoffman
Photograph by Constance Faulk

Cara Hoffman

Cara Hoffman is the author of the critically acclaimed novels So Much Pretty and Be Safe I Love You. She teaches writing and literature at Bronx Community College and lives in New York City.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US

Get a FREE eBook
when you join our mailing list!