Even though the details of how he grew up are unique, Butler’s conversational voice makes it easy for readers to connect and even relate. The book encourages and advises readers, focusing on the idea that “anyone can be somebody, but it’s up to you to decide what you will be.” Butler’s discussion of fatherhood is particularly moving. He recounts feeling the absence of his own father deeply, addressing him directly early in the book, and later revisits that lack when describing how he missed his daughter’s birth because he was deployed.
This memoir is much stronger because Butler brings self-awareness to his story. The life he depicts is not one of unending hard work and virtue; he recounts college parties and includes details that depict him in a less-than-completely-positive light, including about the problems that held up his commissioning as a Navy officer. He isn’t claiming to be perfect, simply trying to tell his story. He is clearly eager to share, with honesty and courage, the journey through hardships and struggle that led to his building a successful career and life. Readers looking for triumph over adversity and inspiration to tell their own stories will find both in Butler’s relatable memoir.
Takeaway: Readers looking for a story of triumph over adversity and seeking inspiration in telling their own story will find both in Butler’s relatable memoir.
Great for fans of: Liz Murray’s Breaking Night, Vernon E. Jordan Jr. and Annette Gordon Reed’s Vernon Can Read.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: C
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