Date Completed: 12/31/15
If you’re anything like me, prepare to have this book hit you in the feels. I’m not overly drawn to country music or country stars, but I knew Jimmy Wayne’s tale would be something special to me.
Although I am not a former foster kid, I have a connection to foster care in that the first meaningful service experience I had was with a retail store that tailored its retail experience around helping foster kids. Recently, I wrote a policy advocacy paper for a foster care bill presented to the North Carolina House of Representatives, and presented my stance to my representative. Needless to say, I am grateful to read this memoir from Jimmy Wayne.
His story has taken many twists and turns through his life, from living with his mother to entering the foster care system, from being homeless to living with a pair of elderly folks. His journey did not just end with that hope for the future, but he went on to become a country music celebrity. Wayne used his celebrity status to give back to the community.
It feels humbling to read a story about somebody who’s been through hardships like these and at every moment continues to be grateful for everyone who has helped him along the way. Several times it seems like he’s out of luck and it would be easy to give up, but Wayne instead continues in whatever direction is presented to him. I love his flexibility and his humility towards people. His optimistic and grateful attitude tended to be something like this: “How cool was that? My own dad never bought me a birthday present of any kind in my entire life, but Brad Paisley’s dad bought me a bicycle.” He approaches everything with such humor and joy that reading this book made me feel more grateful for everything I have in my life, and all the people who have helped me get here.
The best part of this book is that while much of his story is shocking, Wayne didn’t write any part of this book for shock value. His writing is genuine and he hoped to give readers a real sense of who he is. I’m glad he found a way to see his passion come to reality and kept his promise to himself to give back to people who come from the similar circumstances as himself.
As I mentioned, Jimmy Wayne is a country star currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. He also has a novel Paper Angels. Of course you can read more about him in his memoir!
I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.