"You don't owe me anything." With these words Cassandra Leahy learns that her boyfriend, Mark, is coming home from a tour in Vietnam. He's written daily, but she hasn't seen him in over a year. Cassie, living in a small seaside town and working in a Greek-owned business, is eager to embark on her own future. As the homecoming unfolds, she finds that Mark is unable to escape from his past. Although set in 1971, this compassionate tale of a community trying to welcome back one of its own has relevance today, as families welcome home a new generation of veterans.
About the Author
Deahn Berrini has been researching and writing about returning veterans’ issues for over twenty-five years. She lives on the North Shore of Boston, where she writes and teaches.
Praise for the Book
Deahn Berrini's Milkweed is a gentle revelation, a story whose apparent simplicity belies an unsettling resonance. It is the summer of 1971 and Cassie Leahy, working class daughter of Ipswich, Massachusetts, lives with her widowed father, rides her bike to work in a shellfish business, and wonders about her future. When Mark—high school friend and a boy Cassie feels she might be in love with—returns from Vietnam irrevocably changed, Milkweed opens into a journey of the heart that looks and feels all too much like today. Deahn Berrini has given us an American tapestry, filled with a vivid universe of kids on the edge, seekers, supplicants, the decent and the wayward and the lost, carried forward by a young woman's quest for understanding as she prepares to launch her life. And like the 10-year homecoming of that prototypical veteran Odysseus (whose story Cassie studies in a community college), Milkweed reminds us that war stories are still the oldest, hardest, and most telling and compelling tales we share.
-Richard Currey, author of Fatal Light and Crossing Over: The Vietnam Stories
Milkweed is one of the rare stories about the Vietnam War that tell the tale of the women who wait for their young men to return from the battlefield and the choices they are forced to make in the aftermath of the less than idyllic homecoming. In this compelling novel the heroine comes face to face with the reality of war and how it affects her life as deeply as it affects her returning hero; a young man unable to escape the chaos and tragedy of his months in combat. Berrini has crafted a fine story that will stay with the reader long after the final words are read.
-Donna Moreau, author of Waiting Wives: The Story of Schilling Manor; Homefront to the Vietnam War