The Warrior of Life
by Richard Poole

"My father knocked up my mother, my grandfather put a contract out on my father, they had a shotgun wedding, loved each other very much and I had a wonderful childhood? I think not!"

A debut novel about a remarkable life, this is the story of a common man with an uncommonly fast-moving, incessantly shifting tale to tell. It begins a generation before he was born, and takes readers through his sixty-seventh year. Along the way, the affable narrator shares countless ups and downs of a turbulent childhood, a dark family secret, his angry youth, his tour in Vietnam, his troubled relationships, uncanny work experiences, and more. And since he’s the one telling the story, the reader gets the chance to get into his head, full as it is with attitude, witticisms, acceptance, stoicism, and even optimism. There’s a lot he does not understand about life, which he clearly admits. But simply knowing that helps him plod through, and he’s happy to take his readers along on the journey, if for no other reason than to have some decent company with whom to commiserate.

Although this saga is labeled as fiction, it seems likely that much of it is based on a life actually lived. After all, there is a lot of too-real-to-be-made-up minutiae throughout the tale—little details of daily life—that many novelists might have skipped to make room for more descriptions and psychological musings. But the inclusion of these details is not a drawback. On the contrary, the author has a strong command of storytelling, an expansive, compelling, and emotional tale to share, and a tone that echoes Holden Caulfield, which is quite endearing. The overall impact of the book might have been enhanced through some more careful editing. However, in the end, this a novel that has a raw and distinctive power to pull the audience along.

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