Path To Glory by Brendan Buckley

Author's Description:
R.J. Hartley is a small-town boy with big-time plans -- and the skills to make his dreams come true. The road to success is filled with ups and downs (and occasional ins and outs) until his goals finally meet reality.
Size: 955 KB ( ~ 181,096 words)
Genre: Drama
Sex Contents: No Sex
Tags: Romantic, Tear Jerker, Sports, School

Review by Bester   [other reviews by Bester]

Reviewed: 2012-04-29

I managed to stumble across this story a week or so ago, and left it open in a browser window so I could start reading when I had a minute. So last night when I was lousing around before dinner, I was shocked at how strongly I got hooked into the story. Instead of a couple of chapters, I kept reading until I finished the story in the wee hours of the morning. I just couldn't walk away from the story.

As much as I love SOL, there is a reason very few authors go on to be published (and that almost exclusively self-publishing), and it isn't because of editorial control. It is because it requires a certain spark to create characters that have their own life and draw you into their worlds to the point that you truly care about what happens to them. That really is the difference between the cream of the crop here, and most of the authors you read. Even those at the top of their game (Lazlo, Steiner, etc) most of the time struggle to have their characters get a real emotional reaction from their audience.

I was astounded when by chapter six I was blinking away real tears. I can't tell you the last time that happened to me, from a story here or even in a published book. That, to me, is the best way I can describe this story. You become attached to the characters, and their wounds become your wounds.

I won't go into the story in detail, because I don't want to spoil things for you. This isn't a stroke story, this is a coming of age story and a romance story.

Technically, I didn't think the story was as bad as it's been made out to be. There are some errors, and I was drawn out of the story a few times as a result of them. The occasional homophone, some awkward sentence structure, some gramatical errors. Occassionally I had to reread something to figure out what was intended, but for the most part it was simple errors where the intent and context was obvious enough to keep rolling. At the end of the day, this story was easily legible and readable.

There was one area where it got fairly confusing, and that was during an injury in college. Specifically a concussion that leads to some short-term issues. This section of the story (parts of about two chapters) was particularly confusing, and I kept on having to flip around to see if I had missed something. Some parts of this (and I'm trying not to spoil, so forgive my vagueness) seemed to be intentional, which given the situation in the story is understandable. Other parts of this didn't seem to be intentional, and were unnecessarily bewildering.

The story itself is strong. The characterization itself is absolutely wonderful. All the characters are three-dimensional, and have strengths and weaknesses all their own, particularly the protaganist. The one thing in characterization that I was disappointed in was the protaganists athletic ability and success, as it was a bit over the top and unrealistic enough to have me rolling my eyes at time. That said, other than his athletic acomplishments he was well crafted, with both good and bad personality traits. Flaws make a good character, and his were realistic.

I read in his blog that the author doesn't intend to write or post any more (he also has another partially finished story that is marked incomplete and inactive), because he doesn't enjoy the editorial work it takes to post. He was also apparently shredded by critics of this while he was active. I, personally, am highly disappointed by this. Yes, the editorial side could use some work, but there are stories here that are technically perfect that I wouldn't use to wipe with. The technical side, especially in an amateur story which the author isn't getting paid for, really isn't the most important key to a good story. Yes, there is a point where technical mistakes and basic legibility can destroy even the best of stories, but once you pass a certain point then it becomes quibbles, especially in the face of a good story. Excellent technique can make an average story okay, but an excellent story can make average technique irrelevant.

I hope this author comes back to us, because SOL is a poorer place without his skills.

Plot: 9 | Technical Quality: 6 | Appeal to Reviewer: 10

Review by Bobster   [other reviews by Bobster]

Reviewed: 2010-03-17

Path To Glory is not an easy story to categorize, it is certainly a romance, also a coming of age story, but it is much more than either or both!

I truly enjoyed the story, it reached out and grabbed me on several emotional levels. I cried (several times), I laughed, I got angry, I felt sad, I was envious and even frustrated!

But mostly, I was just plain hooked! The story follows the life of R.J. from an early teen until well into I would guess his late 30's. And it tells of his early failures as a person, to his later success personally and professionally. (He becomes the most unlikely, but believable so, Football playing lawyer.)

Throughout the story you meet his loves, including his true love, as well as his losses and the pain they bring. But in the end, it is a feel good story, so don't let the above scare you away!

You WILL need a box of tissues for parts, but you will also have to have a smile surgically removed from your face on others! Whatever you do, don't pass this one by!

Plot: 10 | Technical Quality: 9 | Appeal to Reviewer: 10

Review by Andrew Johns   [other reviews by Andrew Johns]

Reviewed: 2010-01-09

In “Path To Glory”, we have the story of young football player that goes from a arrogant boy to a man as the story unfolds. Read along to see how his life unfolds.

While the story is coded for sex, and has the “some sex” tag on it, there is no on-screen sex in the entire story. As such, the story has zero stroke value. I always feel cheated when an author tells me there will be sex, and there is none.

The plot itself is quite good. The story unfolds well, though I felt there was too much foreshadowing. The characters all had a pretty good feel to them, with none of them being too over the top. The ending did not satisfy me, though.

Technically, the story fared well. The author had a bad tendency to tell you what the conversation entailed, and then actually show us the conversation, instead of just giving us that conversation. It felt redundant at times. The last few chapters were a little more rough, with the main character suddenly switching to nicknames for some of the kids, and my tired brain not catching on quick enough. I was wondering who they were talking about.

Overall, this is a pretty darn good story. I found myself really wanting to know how it turned out, and stayed up way too late reading it. The lack of advertised sex was disappointing. At times, I felt the force of the foreshadowing like a brick in the face. It added some suspense to the story, but made it too easy to predict what was going to happen next.

If you are looking for something to stroke along to, skip this one. If you are looking for something that will sneak under your skin and make you interested in mostly normal young adults, this one may do the trick.

Plot: 8 | Technical Quality: 8 | Appeal to Reviewer: 8