The Review: Invincible by WJ Moloney
"This is the incredible story of one man’s journey through a world war and then onto world-wide sporting glory. It is a story of friendship, redemption and hope. Of luck and guts, loneliness and terror, kindness and salvation, sportsmanship, resurrection and healing."
‘Son’ grew up in a small town in the south of New Zealand in the early 1900s. After losing his father to alcoholism, he leaves school to take his fathers place working on a local farm where he befriends a horse no one else on the farm could break in.
The outbreak of World War One lures Son in with promise of adventure so he enlists with his horse and leaves behind everything he knows. With the army, Son finds a brotherhood and together they meet war in Gallipoli, the rose tinted glasses quickly stripped from them as they realise the heartbreak, terror and frustration that war can bring.
Eventually, war takes its toll on Sons body and mind and he is sent home. Shame and frustration don’t make good tools for re-establishing himself within society and he quickly spirals, alcohol becoming his only escape. An unexpected friendship, along with the unwavering support of his mother, provides Son the foundation upon which to rebuild his life.
Soon after, he finds himself in a team that echoes his past and gives him an opportunity for redemption. Son is a complicated character and the trauma he experiences is unfortunately not an uncommon experience for veterans.
The self pity and sabotage is hard to bear witness to and I really felt for Sons mother having to watch her son head down the same path that killed her husband. One of my favourite things about this book was the side characters and how many good people Son came across. It’s a reminder of how much good there is to be found amongst the worst of humanity. The style of writing reminded me of "The Note Through The Wire", so if you enjoyed that book then definitely add this to your list. And because Christmas is creeping up on us, this book would be a great gift for a difficult to buy for Dad!
- Words by Michelle O'Brien