On My Honor

 

theheartsofmen-cover.jpg

My technique for finding good books to read has once again rewarded me. It is simple. Walk into the library, find the recent book shelfs and explore the titles. This time it was the cover art that sucked me in. How could a former scoutmaster like myself resist a book with a Boy Scout on the cover? In fact, this art is not original, I recall this being a Norman Rockwell depiction. Regardless, the story is called The Hearts of Men, by Nickolas Butler.

I have to hand it to Nick, he stayed true to his theme right to the very end, and wrote a story about Scouts and the impact that Scouting has on boys who eventually become men. The story is about friendship that begins in scout camp, and ends at the death-bed.  The lead characters become fathers, and grand fathers whose sons, and grand kids become characters too.

Author Butler also gives us an insight into the effects of the Viet Nam War, and the scars it left on those who fought. It isn’t pretty. My heart felt the pain of the Vets who did make it home to suffer for the remainder of their lives with PTSD, and horrific dreams.

By the end of the story I suffered an attack of dry eye. The outcome being a massive gush of tears flooding from my eyes to compensate for the dryness. I’m sure anyone who reads this story will encounter a similar attack.

The description of scout summer camp could only have been told by a former camper, and the realism of the effects of war also smacks of one who has experienced it. I’m going to be thinking about this story for a long, long time. Within the camp stories there is realistic depiction of men and their relationships with their mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends, lovers, and buddies. The characters are real, and the emotions expressed are definitely true. The description of the scenes etched pictures in the mind, and the dialogue between characters is very believable and real.

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