The story tells the tragic life of David, who is born in a family consumed by chaos, addiction, abuse and trauma. The reader gets the opportunity to follow David’s life – from his first years to young adulthood.
First of all, let’s talk about the outlook of the book. It is covered in beige and light blue tones – soft and delicate colours that create an ironic contrast to its content. The story inside is heavily dramatic and dark, yet the outside is light and subtle. A good example of why we should not ‘judge a book by its cover’.
Regarding imagery, it features a blue-eyed young child dominating the cover. The sad look on the expressive little boy’s face can be easily interpreted as a cry for help, connoting the heartbreaking storyline. This image is more allusive to the content, giving the possible readers a more realistic feel of the book, despite the misleading colours aforementioned.
I believe the contrast on the cover (dramatic imagery accompanied by fragile colours) becomes an absolute eye-candy, grabbing the attention of the future reader. It becomes interesting and complex at first sight, leading the potential reader to give it a try.
Now that the outer features have been discussed, we shall move on to the inner elements of David Thomas’s book.
It has been mentioned above that the book is a candid autobiography about Thomas’s disturbing past; a detailed picture of a hectic life filled with traumatic experiences.
The combination of the intimate theme and the fact that it is written in the first person transforms the book into an one-on-one private conversation; the author engages the reader with its personal and approachable language and down-to-earth attitude.
In other words, the autobiography isn’t a polished, well-structured and epic tale, written with eloquent vocabulary.
It is simple, familiar and natural, like if you were David Thomas’s psychologist and you were both sitting down, in a therapy session.
The main themes of the book are sexual abuse, love and forgiveness. The author grows up in a family where his mother sexually abuses him, and his stepfather beats him up. And even though he stumbled upon the consequences of those years of suffering, he still managed to overcome all of that, and become a successful, worldwide known motivational speaker and record-breaker. As Thomas states in the book, all of his success is due to the fact he was able to forgive his parents, and move forward.
The thesis of the story is how everyone can actually overcome any obstacle, and how life teaches us lessons that we must go through in order to evolve and grow as human beings, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and living stuck in painful memories.
David Thomas could be the poster child for the thesis. He was able to emerge from his dark and rotten upbringing to a bright and successful life, keeping all the excruciating recollections of the past, but always looking forward.
All in all, I believe this book is an uplifting piece of art. It could easily inspire anyone who needed motivation. And even though it is not an easy-reading book (the description of the sexual abuse by his mother is very visual, which could put some readers off), it would definitely inspire and motivate the reader, no matter what.
I think David Thomas didn’t write the book just to tell his tragic life story – he did it so that he could help everyone in the same position, who needs to clean out the closet and move on.
I strongly recommend this book, because it can encourage anyone to look for a brighter future and better tomorrow. If he did it, so can everyone.
Gonçalo Rochate, n.5, 12ºG