Friday, May 18, 2012

When Life Throws You Curves, Keep Swinging by David Vince

When Life Throws You Curves, Keep Swinging - A Memoir by Coach David Vince with Jeremy Harper is a short inspirational autobiography by a man who did not let his disability hinder his life goals.  Ironically, this double amputee- born with a genetic birth defect, made a career in sports as a baseball coach.  In his own words, the purpose of this book is for the author to share his experiences to motivate and empower other readers facing challenges. This inspirational book is the perfect motivation for anyone facing challenges.

This unique autobiography reads like a scrapbook or family photo album. Not everything is about his career in sports as a coach- although the author covers his career in chronological detail like a resume.  The author covers every aspect of his life, the heartache, the achievement as well as the day to day, ordinary details.  In fact, the author's work maybe considered to be a hybrid memoir, resume and photo history in one book.  Included within the text are photos from his childhood as well as other family photographs.  Also included is a group photo of his first baseball team as a coach and a photo of the author and his wife on their 26th wedding anniversary cruise from 2010. Even included are tourist photos from his travels abroad.  While these may seem insignificant, they make the author personal and real to the reader.  The author even goes so far as to provide a cultural analysis of his trips and to describe the food quality during his trip to Rome.   Basically the text is similar to a caption in that it reveals the story behind the photographs- reminding the reader of a long lost relative or grandfather who shares his life story in pictures and words.  While some may feel there is too much extraneous detail, and that the author tends to divert from the subject, I feel that possibly the author included these everyday, ordinary experiences to show that despite his extreme  physical disability he was able to lead a normal and enriched life - like anyone else- with similar experiences: travel, work and  family. Perhaps this is an attempt to reach out to all readers- and especially to the disabled who may feel that physical disability limits their life potential. 

One issue is the way the author responded to the problem of bullying he faced throughout his lifetime.  He recounts the story from his youth with great pride and a sense of achievement as he gave "a direct blow to the bully's stomach so hard it knocked his breath out.  The young man, unable to breathe, collapsed like a house of cards and gasped for air." Page 16.  The author explains the incident further "Because I stood up for myself the bullies finally left me alone".  And he goes on to explain that he "developed a mantra of 'Vinces are tough' to help me cope with bullying". Page 17.  Given the circumstances, could anyone fault the author for standing up for himself in the face of being bullied? Most readers will probably applaud his use of physical aggression to assert his rights.  But, I am not sure if this is the best lesson- especially for young people who are facing the problem of bullying.  Physical retaliation is not the best remedy for dealing with bullying or any challenge for that matter.  The author speaks of his faith which is good, but that episode seems to contradict the teaching of faith.  Nevertheless, the author has an inspirational story and message which many in this world need to hear.  He would make a good motivational speaker and I would hope that he uses his experience to motivate young people who may face disabilities.  I received this autographed book , published by Langmarc publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

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