Paths & Progression is the second part in Tom Benson’s A Life of Choice series. It follows Jim Faulkner in his military career and gives the reader a real taste of what life in the army was like back in the seventies. While the job, the base and army culture is meticulously described throughout, this is a story of a young man’s experiences as he journeys into manhood. Those who have been in the armed forces will no doubt enjoy all the military references but it’s not a necessity for the reader to be ex army. It is fiction but it’s written in the style of a memoir and deals with the characters emotions as well as the job. It follows what I would expect to be real army life rather than the sensationalised heroism I’ve read in other army books. It felt very authentic.
For me, the most engaging parts were when Jim let his guard down and shared his feelings about the various relationships he found himself in. It highlights the difficulties of maintaining a relationship with someone back home while faced with so much temptation. The story also tackles Jim’s struggles with alcohol, being drawn into a drinking culture beyond his control. Jim’s experiences off the base were entertaining and helped to show the softer side of the character.
Tom Benson’s A Life of Choice series can be bought on Amazon.
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