Basic human instinct dictates self-preservation at all costs. The response can even be automatic, reflex-like and when you are faced with adversity, your initial instinct would be to protect yourself. But is that really how you should be living your life – safe and constantly tiptoeing as if on thin ice? Or should you be out there taking risks, even risking your life in order to live that very life?
Hemingway has been boxing for a decade now since he was 18. Recent fight with a ring opponent, Wilson, changes his life. He was knocked out and acquired a concussion for which he suffered physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. His sense of self-preservation leaves him with little to no memory of the fight, but that one event has the biggest impact on his present. Imagine having to deal with, migraines, insomnia, blurred vision, and fatigue. The behavioral symptoms, mood swings, and depression are likewise unbearable for someone who used to be a jovial extrovert. As Hemi declares, “They have made me feel like I lost my soul”. His brother and his family try their best to take care of him but even that drives him further into a recluse. His sister, Cleo, though is closest to his heart. Hemi meets Cleo’s friend, Anya, and is immediately attracted and smitten.
However, he continues to struggle with himself as he tries to get out of the pit of solitude that he dug himself. He is also more conscious of his undesirable behavior towards others that he begins to resent it. He tries hard to correct his behavior, especially with his family and Anya with whom he has gotten close. He realizes how he needs to get his life back saying, “I can no longer live like this”. Hemi arranges to meet with his grandfather Joe, a man he respects highly and a pugilist like himself – the one who introduced him to the sport. A pivotal point takes place when he tells his niece Daphne, “When something comes up missing, you always find it where you lost it. I lost my confidence, my will, my passion, my self-respect, and some other things that night in the ring. I have to go back in the ring to get those things back.”
He now contemplates how to proceed with this future. Will he stay in the bondage of post-concussion syndrome? Or will he continue the fight and be the pugilist that he is? Then he meets Bruno and later, Tiffany – both persons are to play very significant roles in Hemi’s life.
The Pilgrimage of a Pugilist is an in-depth and soulful story of how one man’s life can be changed by a single event and how he can choose to let it dictate the rest of his life. Many people will be able to relate to the feelings of solitude, depression, and of wanting to be one’s old self again… of boxing as an intimate sport and of family and love. Only, it is told in the Sheetz’ impeccable writing – simple, realistic, and full of personal emotions as if it is his very own life experience. It is totally bare, with none of the gymnastics meant to impress readers with an author’s writing abilities but honest, deep, and passionate. It paints a vivid picture in your mind and everything is done in good taste. The first-person perspective lends the plot as a compelling and emotional rendering of the characters and others surrounding him.
Sheetz is a true poet and the Pilgrimage of a Pugilist is his finest work of art.
If there is one single journey you should be taking in this life, it should be this Pilgrimage of a Pugilist.
The book is available on KINDLE. Buy your own copy now!
Pub Date: November 8, 2020
Page Count: 246
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Review Posted Online: November 8, 2020
Writera Magazine Reviews Issue: February 26, 2021
Categories: Literary Fiction