My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’m convinced Bert Carson wrote Fourth and Forever for every veteran who’s served in combat; a place where each and every day you have to be in the moment. Living that way day in and day out comes with a terrible price that most often manifests as PTSD; a term we still don’t completely understand and, in many circles, do not accept.
This is a story that reaches into the dark and lonely places of our souls and offers a path to understanding and healing through camaraderie – which is nothing more than a guy’s way of saying love – Bert Carson.
His main character, Josh Edwards, experienced love and loss while flying dangerous missions in the war-torn country of Vietnam. Josh is fortunate to return after three tours to a very close and loving family who help him find a level of peace.
The three share some amazing years as an Army family, but just as Josh begins the onerous process of retiring from active duty, and his son Bobby begins searching for a college to attend, tragedy strikes the family. They choose to chart a new path and along the way Josh and Bobby discover that the greatest healing gift is in giving of oneself.
This is more than a Vietnam story, a sports story, or even a love story. This is a testimonial that love borne of camaraderie can get you through the toughest spots, even if your objective feels like it’s forever away. Carson’s characters and smooth dialogue let you experience the conversations and heart-rending moments. The cast is a fully developed mix of everyday people and integrate seamlessly with the supporting elements and plot. Carson uses efficiency and emotional impact set a brisk pace.
This is a strong five-star novel for the quality of the writing and its ever important message. You will smile and likely shed tears, but in the end you will come away with a wisdom to help you through many of life’s darkest and most difficult challenges, whether for yourself or others you’ve tried to reach.
Simply sharing this story is the greatest gesture of friendship our Vietnam fathers could offer their sons and daughters of Iraq and Afghanistan. There aren’t words to describe my personal gratitude for this novel and the camaraderie great men like Bert Carson have offered us, as we try to find our way back from war.
Tom Clementson (Kindle Book Review)