The Whirlwind Tour has begun: This week I will dedicate some of my blogspace to David Litwack’s works – I’ve read Along the Watchtower and wrote this review:
Along the Watchtower by David Litwack
Lieutenant Freddie Williams’ tour in Iraq ends with the blast that sends him injured into a place between worlds. It takes time to sort things out, recover bits and pieces to make sense of life again. Freddie has great help from Ralph and especially Becky during his recovery process as he finds the missing pieces beyond what is required to recover physical mobility. At first, it appears that he is locked into toggling between two worlds, one that may be called the hard cold reality of an injured soldier and the other one he terms fantasy. The pace of the novel wanders comfortably from one world to another. However, he finds himself meeting characters in his fantasy world that reflect the traits of the real life friends who assist him in his journey back to health. In his fantasy world, Lieutenant Williams needs to find his way through a series of quests before he can be anointed ruler of his kingdom. These quests are pivotal for his recovery process, as he is able to face things his mind has locked away in the harsh reality. They bleed over into the real world where he begins to embark on a quest where he tries to solve his own mysteries and find his place.
The mind is a wondrous instrument and deals with trauma in an individual manner. No two victims of traumatic events take the same path to recovery. Freddie’s path leads to a world that is less painful, but still loaded with riddles, where he can go about solving the issues at hand in a safer manner, even if there are threats lurking in his own created world as well. I enjoyed very much the unspoken suggestion that both worlds are a creation of the hero Lt. Williams. This gives the meaning that since he is creating his world(s) he has the power to influence the outcome of his journey.
The author has skillfully woven the two storylines together with seamless ease and it grabbed my attention from the start. It meanders without getting boring along the parallel quests that take slightly different turns, but end up making sense, most often in creative symbolism. One can surely just enjoy this novel and find it an easy read for quick entertainment, however it also offers a pondering mind the opportunity for deeper connections and meanings that aren’t dictated, but merely hinted at, which I enjoyed very much.
I can imagine that there are different groups of readers who would not like this novel, but for anyone with a vivid imagination and the ability to propel themselves into different worlds, either through reading novels or daydreaming on their own; this novel is a wonderful read. Only the ending was a bit too abrupt for my taste and I would have wished a slower pace with more details to ease into the conclusion of the novel. It left me wanting a little bit. Perhaps a sequel that will show us more of Freddie and Becky is already in the works?