A Warrior's Son
Thirteen-year old Jake Bennett’s life turns upside down when his Army dad leaves for the first of three tours in Iraq. His mom and his six-year old brother seem like strangers to him as his family adjusts their lives to his dad’s absences and returns. A Warrior’s Son follows Jake through his teen years as he struggles to find a place in his hurting family, while navigating the complexities of girls, sports, and friends through middle school and high school. The story is a testament to the resilience of military families, and to the determination of one boy who must cope with adolescence and the emotional stress of being a warrior’s son.
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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
A Warrior’s Son is a coming of age novel written by Duke Pasquini. Jake was in the seventh grade when his father was called up to serve in the Iraq War. His father had joined the reserves to get a bit of extra money to put toward Jake's and Jamie's college educations, but, like many other reservists, had never dreamed he’d actually be called up for active duty. Education was important to his father who had not had access to college, but had worked his way up to being the Fire Captain at his station. Nick worked hard to instill those values in his sons. He and Jake spent a lot of time together in the weeks before he was to leave, including a fishing and camping trip where his dad taught him how to trout fish on the flume. Jake couldn't imagine life without his dad, but his father said to count on him coming home. Any alternatives could be acted upon when they actually happened. It was hard for his mom and the two brothers dealing with the fact that their dad wasn’t there, and Jake almost felt embarrassed by the fact at first. After all, no one else’s dad seemed to be fighting in Iraq, and the shy and insecure boy felt even more out of place now that his dad was gone.
Duke Pasquini’s coming of age tale, A Warrior’s Son, is a historically relevant and very moving story of a young man who comes of age as his father serves multiple tours in Iraq. I quickly got wrapped up in this tale that combines Jake’s school experiences and home life with his perceptions of the war effort and his father’s letters. Nick, Jake’s father, is a marvelous character who teaches his son how to dream and achieve and make the impossible come true. The metaphor of the ugly gray wood being turned into a glowing and beautiful mahogany bowl on Nick’s lathe in his garage workshop as his disenchanted son watches is a powerful and lasting image. The story covers Jake’s life and experiences from the time he’s in seventh grade through graduation from high school, and the reader can’t help but get involved in this poignant and thought-provoking story. A Warrior’s Son is most highly recommended.
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
A Warrior’s Son by Duke Pasquini deals with social issues that affect thirteen-year-old Jake Bennett. Jake misses his Army father, Nick, a soldier deployed in Iraq, but does his best to cope, despite constant bullying at school. He takes his frustration out on his mother and small brother, neglecting the fact that they miss Nick too. Jake’s father returns, but he seems aloof, which only infuriates Jake more. His friends try to comfort him, but they are not the ones who have a parent on tour, so how can they understand what he is experiencing? Nick tries to bond with Jake before leaving again and attempts to share his wisdom while bonding with his son. Unfortunately, Jake’s rebellious outbursts and actions dampen the mood, much to everyone’s regret.
A Warrior’s Son is so convincing that I am sure persons from a military family can identify with the personal problems that Jake and his family have. Duke Pasquini's writing is fluent and knowledgeable, giving a touching, detailed demonstration of the emotional and social issues those persons with a military background often experiences. The story is intense and tear-jerking because the author painstakingly showed how Jake’s reactions to his father’s absence compared to his little brother. There were times I felt annoyed with Jake for being so self-centred and thoughtless to his family, yet I knew he was only a normal teenager who missed not having his father around, like other children. This is a well-written story that I found quite thought provoking.