Alone In The Light Romance Fiction Deeply Moving
Alone In the Light Romance Fiction Deeply moving story. Astounding debut novel. Military lovers Josh and Mary. An experience from which you must recover.
I listened to the Audible version of Alone In The Light. I listened to this military romance story “alone in the dark” every night for about an hour as I fell asleep. The story of Alone In The Light is told from the perspective of Josh Carpenter and Mary Fischer. Josh is affectionately referred to by the men in his National Guard unit as, “Big Sarge.” Mary is also in the military and meets Josh in Indiana. Everything is pretty much copasetic. Then Josh’s unit, and Mary, are moved from Indiana and stationed in Camp Wolf, Kuwait.
Although, I finished reading/listening to Alone in The Light a few months ago. It has taken me quite a while to get to a place where I could write about the book. First let me say, Benjamin Bass has written an astounding debut novel. On the surface, this is a story about men and women in the National Guard. They have been called to serve in the war in Iraq. As you might imagine, bad things happen during the war.
After Josh’s unit returns back home to Indiana, life is anything but easy. Josh suffered a significant physical injury during the war. Although Mary wrote many letters to Josh while overseas, Josh showed no interest in her. It seemed as though nothing about Josh was the same. The war, his injury and loss of lives during the war had changed him.
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While Mary did not understand why Josh shunned her, she recognized that he indeed was a changed man. And even if Josh was no longer romantically interested in her, Mary continued to care about him. She realized the change in Josh, mentally, was destroying the person he used to be. I am sure Mary was grieving the loss of the man she once knew.
Benjamin Bass brings to his readers, complex characters of depth. Everything Josh does and/or experiences after returning home, screams PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). But the real Josh is still there, somewhere down deep. And through it all, Josh continues to care about his comrades. Even so, he cannot save anyone, not even back in Indiana. And, how can he? He is suffering both physically and mentally, as the life he once lived is going down the drain.
Benjamin Bass expertly depicts the changes in Josh. We see Josh suffering both inwardly and outwardly. Even as Bass shows us a man who is sinking fast, we don’t want to accept that he may never be the same. We want Josh to get back to being the man he was. We will feel better if we just get to see Josh smile like he used to. We would like to take hold of him and shake him. And we even want to scream at him to stop drowning himself in booze.
We need Josh to make things better with Mary, the woman who so clearly loves him. We ask what happened to Josh’s feelings for Mary? Yet, we already know the answer. We cannot ignore what we see. We recognize Josh’s mind is betraying him through the life-destroying power of PTSD, left untreated, left undefeated. We want Josh to fight back! We want to cry out, “Come on Josh, you are stronger than this damned PTSD! Don’t be afraid to fight!” But is that fair of us? Would that even work?
Let me be clear, I don’t like books that bring me down. Alone In The Light is brilliant story-telling at its best. I keep asking myself, “What good is it to be, Alone In The Light?” That’s kind of like Tom Hanks marooned on an island with a soccer ball. Let’s face it, he needed a companion so he would not be Alone In The Light.
I believe Alone In The Light has the magnificent potential (and dare I say, the power) to bring the characters, as well as the readers, “together in the light!” And by this I mean together in the light of life, which is the exact opposite of the light Josh experienced in the Iraq war. My heart goes out to families struggling to bring a loved one back into the light of loving family and friends. And though it is surely an accident of timing, Alone In The Light is also a testament to a world fighting a war against what feels like an invisible enemy, the Covid Virus.