Reading is my guilty pleasure. Every book I read, I take in a new perspective of the world and the unique individuals in it. I’ve absorbed my fair share of novels and each author has impacted my views in their own way. The ones that most affect me tend to be memoirs based on true life. When reading them, I tend to take them in as works of fiction. When things go sour for the writer within their retelling, it usually hits me hard that these dark events truly happened to them. We become heavily absorbed in our own lives that we forget that there cruel and dark things happening to everyone, not just ourselves.

Two memoirs I’ve had the pleasure of reading, The Glass Castle and My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King, have opened my eyes and mind that everyone and anyone can and will go through a dark period of their life in different ways. In Glass Castle, author Jeannette and her siblings deal with a childhood of neglect by their parents. It’s evident their parents love them, but forget about them and their well-being for their own pleasures. The children have to survive on their own and even manage to duck being taken away by social services. All the while, Jeannette holds out hope for her father, Rex, believing for some time that he is going to build them all a dream home he dubbed the glass castle.

Despite all the horrendous forms of abuse and neglect the Walls children experience, they eventually leave their parents and go on to live successful and functioning lives. Jeanette becomes a journalist, something she always wanted and worked hard for through her school years and her siblings go on to live better lives as well. Their story enlightens the reader and reminds them that the bad that happens isn’t permanent. If you want, you can and will make your life better.

The same can be said for Reymundo Sanchez and all he had to overcome. Having been abused as a child, Reymundo turns away from the only good in his life, school and baseball, to live with a brother who pays him little to no attention. 

Looking for support, family, and a place in the world, Reymundo joins the Latin Kings in his home city of Chicago. It is then when his life truly hits wrong bottom. He’s quickly involved with murders, beatings, drugs, and sexual abuse. Reymundo spirals out of control, eventually not even caring to take care of his personal hygiene or living conditions.

It’s one hell of a battle, but Sanchez realizes he doesn’t want to nor does he need to live this life of misery. The memoir is written under an pseudonym, so how well Sanchez’s life has turned out is really only his business. The important thing to keep in mind is that Sanchez knew he didn’t have to stay down in the dumps. He could (and did) move on and better himself, letting go of all the was holding him down and back from his own happiness.

Our day to day problems come off as impossible to overcome, but when we put them in perspective, we can live lives we’re truly proud of.

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