VegSource Interactive, Inc. | Book Review
Reviewed by Meryl Ann Butler and Gail Davis
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest of seven children, Kucinich and his siblings lived in 21 places – including a couple of cars and an orphanage– by the time he left home at the age of 17. Without a hint of victimization, he writes a mesmerizing account of a childhood filled with a smorgasbord of violence and poverty, and tells how he held onto the few glimmers of hope that helped him survive. His environment was punctuated with death, suicide, theft, traumatic illness, alcohol, and guns. But through his youthful faith and courage, he transformed his formative years from stumbling blocks into stepping stones, and emerged as a public servant brimming with optimism and altruism.
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This is not the first time Kucinich has penned his life story. As a high school sophomore, he wrote a foretelling autobiography for a class assignment. In it he said that he wanted to pursue a career in politics, one modeled after that of John F. Kennedy. “I’m going to aim for the top,” he wrote, and then added the word, “very” before the word, “top.” With a genuine empathy for the struggles faced by millions of American families that comes from his own early experiences, he became the kind of political leader who authors legislation that would provide health care for all, and make war and domestic violence a thing of the past. With such lofty aspirations, clearly, he is still aiming for the “very top.”
Refreshingly honest and matter-of-fact, The Courage to Survive is a sobering, yet inspiring look at growing up on the outside of the American Dream, looking in – and how one young boy found his way to the other side.