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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
CW3 Cesare Giannetti U. S. Army (Ret.) writes a challenging yet encouraging story in De Facto Pathfinder. At a crossroads in life, a search for purpose echoes in Chris Longo’s soul. Chris is an Army veteran, divorced, and an absentee father to his daughter. He works at the local Veteran’s Service Agency (VSA) in Oklahoma. Although Chris is good at his job, he is desperate for a change, something of value. Chris resigns from his position, taking a sabbatical, hoping to discover a pathway to a meaningful destiny. Months pass, and Chris finds himself back at the VSA. The DoD has developed a pilot program to help combat Veterans with their “personal and recovery issues.” They believe that Chris is a perfect candidate for the position. Over the next six months, Chris travels the country to six locations. Spending a month at each place, Chris meets veterans who have lost their way. Each veteran and their situation is as unique as their location. Chris Longo’s job is to help them find their way. He becomes their De Facto Pathfinder. It becomes an act of reciprocity; Chris discovers meaning for himself by assisting veterans.
The De Facto Pathfinder by CW3 Cesare Giannetti U. S. Army (Ret.) reaches the depths of your heart and soul. It is an engaging read on a difficult subject. Giannetti and his military career offer insight, bringing realism to the story and characters. The narrative is profoundly descriptive, including scenery, history, tastes of local cuisines, and regional vernacular. There are a couple of significant factors weaved into the narrative. As the main character navigates his path of self-discovery, he constantly reminds himself “only the veterans mattered.” Another thread of importance is the inclusion of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. The novel helps shape the main character’s growth and interactions with the veterans. I attempted to have a favorite veteran story but simply could not. Each veteran and their individual story were essential to the narrative. De Facto Pathfinder is an inspirational story that will leave you smiling.