Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life

True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life
True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life by Kevin Sorbo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With the sheer number of books that I've read since January, saying that True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal - and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life was the best book that I've read this year is saying a lot. I haven't been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, but when I'd read a blurb about this book through one of my library newsletters, it intrigued me.

For many, Kevin Sorbo was Hercules. This included, to a large degree, himself. When he was struck down at 38 with strokes that affected his thinking, his balance and his ability to live the life he had, life becomes an uphill battle for Kevin and those that love him.

I'd been expecting this to be a true autobiography - telling everything from childhood to present day and the complications from the aneurysm would only be a small part of it. Instead, he only touched briefly on his earlier days and that, primarily, was to set up the changes that he had to make in his life. It really did focus on what this illness did to him and the difficult he had making the changes that were necessary to keep him alive.

Kevin isn't the only one to write about what happened to him. Interspersed throughout the chapters written by Kevin are chapters written by his wife (Sam), his mother and many other friends along the way. They gave a good glimpse into what the outside world was seeing while Kevin was dealing with his own issues.

I think part of why this book may have resonated so strongly with me is because of my own battle with a disease that doesn't allow me to live the life I want - depression. It's often been hard for me to accept that it's ok to slow down some days because of the weight that depression drops on my shoulders. Seeing someone with the physical and mental strength of Kevin Sorbo having to deal with those same issues reminded me that accepting isn't giving up.

I also loved reading about Kevin and Sam and the love they share for one another. It's rare in Hollywood to see love that lasts. But their love... it's been tested in a stronger fire than being on the set surrounded by sexy co-stars or having fans that are willing to do anything for the favorite stars. They hadn't been engaged long when Kevin was hospitalized for the aneurysm, but they managed to stay together through the roughest times. Sam admits that if Kevin hadn't had to endure this, they may not have survived together. He was a work-a-holic that put in 18 hour days and unthinkingly expected her to make the changes to fit into his life. But his illness taught them both a lot about each other and made their relationship stronger. I hope never to have to deal with the same kind of trial-by-fire, but I do hope to have that same kind of love with Rich for the rest of my days.

What amazes me most is that he was able to keep this secret for so long. In this entitled world, where everyone feels it's their right to know everything about those who have achieved fortune and fame, being able to keep a secret of this magnitude is mind-boggling. It took a lot of courage for him to write this book and I'm very glad he did.

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