I had difficulty with this memoir style biography. I found Ericka's writing style somewhat hard to follow, events of her husband's life interwoven with her own opinions and facts from research. I also found the third person point of view rather odd. For example, “Rick wants people to know...” (3924/4152)
Ericka shares her husband's childhood experiences and the effect they had on him. Some might say his life wasn't so bad. He had to eat stale sugared cereals, although the milk was never sour. Some kids might have nothing at all for breakfast. While at his grandparents, he was forced to eat everything on his plate or it would be there the next morning for breakfast. (1113/4152) Yep. That was my parents' philosophy too. Rick felt unwanted in his grandparent's home. (1135/4152) Yep. I was relegated to play in a dank basement while at my grandparent's. I had lunch with a lady this week who had her teeth punched out by an abusive parent. She came out of her abusive childhood a mentally healthy woman even though she became a Christian as an adult. It seems to me that Rick's childhood experiences were not nearly as bad as some, from other memoirs I have read. Ericka says Rick was “a sensitive child.” (1100/4152) Perhaps that is more telling about this memoir than the actual circumstances he experienced.
Ericka's account of her husband's childhood is rather detailed and I had trouble keeping engaged with the text. It also seemed that Ericka had an agenda in her writing as she included much commentary with the record of her husband's early life. Some of it was about findings from research. Some of it was about her own emotions, I think. There was even some commentary about the Republican party.
I felt that sometimes Ericka embellished the hardness of Rick's childhood. She writes of Rick and his sister, “These siblings never heard the affirmation and encouragement all little boys and girls crave, not even from a schoolteacher or a social worker.” (1252/4152) Really? I find that very hard to believe, that never even once did they hear an encouraging word from a teacher. I did not like the racial implications either. Ericka writes that, “the problems of children like Rick [white] aren't addressed as thoughtfully as those of racial minorities.” (1307/4152) Really? I bet there are many who would greatly disagree with that.
In the end, Rick is finally healing through his relationship with Jesus and his increasingly more stable marriage to Erika. That is encouraging.
Some may appreciate Erika's style of writing and the very detailed account of her husband's hard childhood, hard army experiences, failed marriages, etc. It was okay, I suppose, but I feel the book could have been written so as to be much more positive and encouraging for readers.
You can watch a book trailer and read a chapter at http://leavingcloud9.com/.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Ericka Anderson is a freelance writer who also serves as the Digital Marketing Director at the Independent Women's Forum and as a consultant for The Steamboat Institute. She previously wrote for, and was the Digital Director at, National Review magazine. Prior to that, she was the Digital Manager at the Heritage Foundation and worked in communications for Vice President Mike Pence at the GOP Conference. She attended Indiana University. She lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and their son.
Thomas Nelson, 272 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.