PTSD is a debilitating disease. I have known quite a few who suffer(ed) from it. So when I found this novel set in my home state, and written by a former high school classmate, I thought I’d give it a try.
The story opens with the return home of Lawrence Ellsworth who along with his Sarge, a rough man named Burton, arrive at the farm in Connecticut where Lawrence grew up. They pair have traveled far from the battlefields of the War of Southern Secession (Civil War). Waiting to greet them is Abigail, the love of Lawrence’s life, whom he shortly marries. The two have a very colorful past. As anyone would expect, there is a period of adjustment upon the return from any combat but everyday things seem to trigger episodes for Lawrence that hearken back to the battlefield. The questions he asks himself, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I like this?” “What demons are living within me?” all lead to violent outbursts and soon cause his wife to live in fear. Will Lawrence conquer those demons and how will he accomplish that? And is the wall simply a metaphor for the ailments of the soldier? Or is it something more sinister?
This story is full of unrealized potential. It barely skims the surface of the problem. As we now know, PTSD is a life-long affliction that can be controlled to some degree with medication. But the flareups arrive without warning leaving the sufferer as well as those around him/her at a loss. In the era of Wilson’s Wall, it was believed that love would conquer all. Each of the incidents that occurs within the story could have been elaborated on a bit more. The characters are one-dimensional at best. It was like watching cardboard cutouts of people move through the scenes with little to no emotion, spouting every cliche imaginable. The scenes were mostly flat. What could have been a 5-star novel rates only 2.5 stars . Would like to see this book be edited better and expanded.
Rating: M M m