Book Overview

6,000 miles away from the explosion in Iraq that took his leg, Josh Carpenter struggles to reclaim his former life as a college student.

Mary Fischer, a civilian for the first time in years, strikes out on her own to create a new, independent life away from the army, and her controlling mother. The last time Josh saw Mary, his National Guard unit was leaving Camp Wolf, headed north to the war in Iraq. The last time Mary saw Josh, he was unconscious, covered in blood, and headed for a hospital in Germany. On the campus of Indiana University, Josh and Mary’s paths move ever closer to a reunion that could help ease the nightmares and heal old wounds… or make them worse.

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It’s plain to see why this book won the Military Writers Society of America award. Bass not only captures the emotional and physical aftermaths of warfare, but he does so while writing as both the male and female protagonists, and so seamlessly that the reader forgets this is a single author rather than two. The narrative is powerful, simple, and so compelling that it makes one flinch, yet unable to forego knowing how it will all turn out. Combat veterans will recognize themselves with a nod. Civilians will get a rare glimpse into the sacrifices of those who’ve served.

Steven Hartov, Amazon Reviewer

It’s not every day that I read a story that I simply can’t stop talking about. Benjamin W. Bass’ Alone in the Light is one such story.

As I reader, I was able to enter a world completely foreign to me. My father is a Navy Veteran and served in the National Guard. My best friend is also a Navy Veteran. De facto, I’ve visited the VA hospitals in Perry Point and Baltimore on several occasions and have a vicarious understanding of the hell veterans go through to simply receive decent care in this country.

All that being said, the world and experience of a Veteran suffering from PTSD, is one completely foreign to me. This despite having an uncle who is a Marine Veteran with PTSD. The experience is something he’s never talked about.

Benjamin W. Bass masterfully places the reader right there with Josh and Mary. Josh deals with PTSD directly and we see him hit rock bottom. Mary deals with an incredible amount of loss and the difficulty of adjusting to life after service. In both instances, Mr. Bass places the reader right there in the action and drama of the experience. Through both of their present tense, first-person narratives, I can, vicariously, understand the psychology, the emotion, and the trauma that comes with life after military service.

This story could have very easily been a repetitive cycle of flashbacks and downward spirals. But it’s not. The story builds and develops as the characters are trying desperately to keep their lives together, to hold onto what they’ve lost, and move forward with life. In some instances they are stuck, in others, they plunge forward. Through it all, I felt like I was a part of their experience. I think the choice of first-person narrative and present tense helps with making the reader a present participant of the drama unfolding.

But, don’t say this is just a story about PTSD. It’s so much more than that. It’s a story about Josh and Mary, two very human characters, finding each other and lighting each other’s lives in the midsts of darkness. It’s a story about them losing each other again and suffering through some very dark times. Then, a story about finding each other again and struggling to pick up where they’ve left off. Only, everything has changed.

Timothy R. Baldwin, Amazon Reviewer
Jess, Amazon Reviewer
Angela, Amazon Reviewer
Biktokai, Amazon Reviewer

About The Author

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Benjamin W. Bass is a native Hoosier and a ten-year veteran of the Indiana National Guard. It was his time in the Guard that gave him the basis for his novel, Alone In The Light. Drawing from his personal experience, Bass has crafted a very real depiction of post-deployment life.

Bass graduated from Indiana University, where he met the love of his life. Now married, they reside in Indiana with their two children, a lovable dog, and two very questionable cats.

When Benjamin is not writing, you can find him playing with his children on the living room floor, hunting on his family’s farm, or relaxing on the patio with his wife and a glass of scotch.