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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Playing Soldier is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and autobiographical sub-genres, and was written by author F. Scott Service. Please note that the work does contain explicit language, sexual references, and references to drugs and alcohol which makes it much more suitable to adult reading audiences. The book tells the story of the author’s life as he went from trying to emulate his father – a soldier in the Korean War – to the devastating life that awaits war veterans upon discharge. As he tries to stop the descent into PTSD and substance abuse, can he return to being the contented person he once was?
Author F. Scott Service offers a candid, raw, and highly emotional slice of the soul in this unforgettable and well-crafted work. Knowing very little about the Korean War and this specific viewpoint, I found the book to be quite challenging emotionally, but ultimately empathetic, inspiring, vivid, and very important to understand the powerful journey that the author went on. The adult content was well handled and though it might be potentially triggering to some, the issues are authentically penned and eye-opening for those who have ever known, experienced, or been with someone with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Another feature that I thought was really striking was the solid connection to place and time, grounding us in snippets of reality whilst also taking us away on a deep psychological journey. Overall, I would highly recommend Playing Soldier for readers who are fans of truly moving memoirs and well-penned, authentic words.