Review of For Rectitude and Glory by Fabian Hernandez

Title: For Rectitude and Glory

Author: Fabian Hernandez

Genre: Fiction

Latinxs: Various

For Rectitude and Glory tells the stories of a group of athletes and their trainers coming together to fight for their future. Hard times and a rough past led Orlando to pack up and run away from everything he once called his life– including his only son, Jamel. Fifteen years later, Orlando is given the opportunity of a lifetime that could possibly repair the years of separation between him and Jamel, and this time, he won’t run away.

In his youth, Orlando was a boxer. But with age, he got caught up in the street life, any possible future as a boxer faded fast. When his risky lifestyle blows up in his face, Orlando leaves everything and everyone behind in his home state of Florida and starts over in Louisiana where no one could know about his past.

Boxing is the only thing that has kept Jamel off the streets. With the help of Willy, the only father figure Jamel has ever known, Jamel’s future in boxing is looking brighter than ever. And when he’s offered a spot in the USA Boxing Olympic team, he knows this is his chance to make the difficult life he’s had all worth it. Unbeknownst to Jamel, Orlando has been offered a position as a coach for the USA team, and the two are father and son.

The novel serves as a kind of coming of age story for Jamel. Jamel’s strength, empathy, and honest spirit make him the most likeable character in the novel. Scenes where Jamel confronts his friendship with his childhood friend, Jimmy, are some of the most emotional, raw, and authentic, and reveal that it isn’t so easy to leave the past behind.

Though the novel centers Orlando and Jamel, all of the members of the characters in the USA Boxing team are explored, with each character centering some of the sweetest points of the novel. Hernandez successfully creates a complex, diverse set of secondary characters with only a few short but deep scenes. The variety of characters allow the novel to branch off into several compelling storylines that will reel readers in and create a deep attachment with them and the characters.

With many characters, at times, the other sub-plots take precedence over Orlando and Jamel’s primary storyline. This, unfortunately, makes Orlando and Jamel’s reunion, at least initially, a bit anticlimactic. Though the father and son’s relationship does pick up the slack by developing nicely over the rest of the novel, the much-anticipated initial encounter feels a bit rushed and falls a bit flat.

The multiple scenes featuring the Olympic boxing matches are by far the highlights in the novel. The heart-pounding fights are filled with gritty, intense, and vivid imagery. The vibrant descriptions make the boxers’ energy contagious in these moments and will animate readers’ physical and emotional senses.

Dramatic, affecting, and absorbing, For Rectitude and Glory is a story about what it means to fight– fight for your future, your supporters, and yourself. Hernandez’s genuine characters shape the novel’s greatest message, that with drive, faith, and tenacity comes a deserved glory. Perfect for lovers, fighters, dreamers, and supporters, For Rectitude and Glory will give readers hope and inspire them to push past their greatest adversaries and prove to themselves how great they can be.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*I want to thank the author, Fabian Hernandez, for generously sharing his work with me by gifting me a copy of this book.

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