Official Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

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NetMassimo
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Official Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Purple Hearted Man" by Jack W. McDaniel.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Purple Hearted Man by Jack McDaniel is the story of a man born in the desert who wants to be a healer. He joins what he calls a tribe where there are people who can support each other. He has other friends, but sometimes it's hard to tell who he can trust, including the woman who claim she's his sister. His job is hard because his enemy is the powerful One-Eye God, also known as the Money God.

The Purple Heart is a USA military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving with the nation's military. At the beginning of the novel, a soldier wounded in action is brought to a hospital for treatment, and a nurse nicknames him the Purple Hearted Man. His wounds are both physical and mental as he suffers from severe PTSD. The consequence is that he thinks he was just born, but he doesn't know what to do with his life. He recovers from his physical wounds, but there's no budget to give him the psychiatric assistance he needs. He thinks his name is Purple, and when he gets out of the hospital and returns to his hometown he sees the world like no one else does.

The novel is told in the first person by Purple, starting from what he thinks is his birth in the desert. That's an intriguing choice by Jack McDaniel, because through Purple's eyes and thoughts we get to know him. That means understanding how he sees the world and what he thinks of it. He's a man who lost his memories and created a new identity. Despite his mental issues, he's lucid in his own way.

The One-Eye God, also known as the Money God, is probably the easiest to understand among Purple's ideas, and is a key to everything he thinks and does. He sees society being corrupted by money, and its consequent inequality. It's the society that literally spent trillions of dollars in its recent wars. It's the same society that has little budget to support the soldiers sent to fight those wars after they come home, sometimes with severe problems. It's the society that sees homeless people as rejects, making them invisible. Through Purple, Jack McDaniel addresses these issues and makes you wonder who's really mentally ill in this society. The author can be harsh in judging Western society, but I can't ignore the points Purple makes throughout the novel.

The beginning of the novel is bit brutal, as it's a battle scene, otherwise it's not an action story. What I found captivating is Purple's chain of reflections developed from his unique point of view. He's an outcast, so he sees society from the outside. The contrast between him and a society ruled by the One-Eye God is present throughout the novel. Despite his mental problems, he tries to help other people in his mission as a healer. That's remarkable, an interesting part of the novel that made me sympathize with Purple even more.

I found myself immersed in Purple's perceptions despite the novel's slow pace. My only complaint is that occasionally Purple is a bit obscure in his descriptions. At the end of the book, Jack McDaniel added a link to a mini-guide that explains some aspects of the novel.

In my opinion, Purple Hearted Man is a cleverly written novel that offers a thought-provoking depiction of our society. It contains neither profanities nor sexual references. There are several punctuation errors, in particular of an upper case after a semicolon. That's why my rating is only 3 out of 4 stars. If you're at least open to the possibility that there's something wrong in our society, this is a great novel that offers food for thought about these issues.

******
Purple Hearted Man
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Massimo
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Post by Cecilia_L »

The book's interesting title seems to be a prelude to an intriguing story that is cleverly written. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Post by Fazzier »

A cleverly written novel that offers a thought-provoking depiction of our society sounds a book I can enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing such an excellent review!
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Post by NetMassimo »

Cecilia_L wrote: 28 Mar 2020, 14:55 The book's interesting title seems to be a prelude to an intriguing story that is cleverly written. Thanks for the recommendation.
Nothing in the novel is left to chance, starting from the title. Thank you for your comment.
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Post by NetMassimo »

bellajavier wrote: 28 Mar 2020, 16:37 This is an extremely well crafted review. Definitely makes the reader want to read the book, I admire how you have captured the entire essence of the book so beautiful, in such little words.
Thank you very much for your kind comment.
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Massimo
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Post by NetMassimo »

Fazzier wrote: 28 Mar 2020, 23:20 A cleverly written novel that offers a thought-provoking depiction of our society sounds a book I can enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing such an excellent review!
Have fun, and thank you for your appreciation!
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Massimo
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Post by Sushan »

Seemingly this is a unique story, and your review piqued my interest. Thank you 👍👍
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Post by NetMassimo »

Sushan wrote: 30 Mar 2020, 03:58 Seemingly this is a unique story, and your review piqued my interest. Thank you 👍👍
Yes, the protagonist's point of view makes it unique. Thank you for your appreciation!
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Post by Tomah »

I really like the premise. The idea of exploring society through the eyes of an outsider sounds quite intriguing. Thanks for the review!
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Post by AJ_Drenda »

This sounds like a thought-provoking read. Your description makes me think of The English Patient a bit.
Do you think this novel could have an SF reading?
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Tomah wrote: 30 Mar 2020, 12:29 I really like the premise. The idea of exploring society through the eyes of an outsider sounds quite intriguing. Thanks for the review!
Yes, I found the way the author developed that idea really intriguing. Thank you for your comment!
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NetMassimo
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Post by NetMassimo »

AJ_Drenda wrote: 30 Mar 2020, 17:04 This sounds like a thought-provoking read. Your description makes me think of The English Patient a bit.
Do you think this novel could have an SF reading?
I never read that novel, nor watched the movie adaptation, so I can't tell whether Jack McDaniel got a direct inspiration or used a more generic premise of post-traumatic amnesia. Purple can sound like an alien who fell on Earth or someone living on another world, but reading it as a sci-fi / fantasy story would mean that Purple isn't a soldier suffering from severe PTSD, crippling his story.
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Post by AJ_Drenda »

NetMassimo wrote: 31 Mar 2020, 01:54
AJ_Drenda wrote: 30 Mar 2020, 17:04 This sounds like a thought-provoking read. Your description makes me think of The English Patient a bit.
Do you think this novel could have an SF reading?
I never read that novel, nor watched the movie adaptation, so I can't tell whether Jack McDaniel got a direct inspiration or used a more generic premise of post-traumatic amnesia. Purple can sound like an alien who fell on Earth or someone living on another world, but reading it as a sci-fi/fantasy story would mean that Purple isn't a soldier suffering from severe PTSD, crippling his story.
It could be, potentially, read both ways, like The Wizard of the Pidgeons by Megan Lindholm can be read. The Wizard is a wizard or he is a homeless soldier suffering from PTSD. Both readings work.

The beauty of multiple readings is in their possibility, the possibility that can be argued with.
Alas, I need to read Purple Hearted Man to be sure.
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

Sounds like a lot of fascinating topics, themes, and beliefs are represented in this one, especially when told from the perspective of someone who self-identifies as a societal outcast. Thanks so much for your honest impressions!
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Post by NetMassimo »

AJ_Drenda wrote: 31 Mar 2020, 16:41
NetMassimo wrote: 31 Mar 2020, 01:54 I never read that novel, nor watched the movie adaptation, so I can't tell whether Jack McDaniel got a direct inspiration or used a more generic premise of post-traumatic amnesia. Purple can sound like an alien who fell on Earth or someone living on another world, but reading it as a sci-fi/fantasy story would mean that Purple isn't a soldier suffering from severe PTSD, crippling his story.
It could be, potentially, read both ways, like The Wizard of the Pidgeons by Megan Lindholm can be read. The Wizard is a wizard or he is a homeless soldier suffering from PTSD. Both readings work.

The beauty of multiple readings is in their possibility, the possibility that can be argued with.
Alas, I need to read Purple Hearted Man to be sure.
A lot depends on what the writer wants to say, then of course there's the reader's perception. Reading Jack McDaniel's mini-guide, his explanations seem to confirm that it's the story of a soldier suffering from severe PTSD.
Ciao :)
Massimo
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