When I Was a Boy
by Jerry Thomas Caplinger
US Book Press

"All I could do... was to inure myself, as best I could, against his hate."

In a book filled with painful recollections, the author shows that the road to recovery from a childhood void of esteem is to find it through personal strength. Caplinger sees his self-worth as measured by his successes in school and sports. "That spring... I literally said to myself: ā€˜Iā€™m a good person.ā€™ People like me, I did good work, I was a good athlete and a team player... I had no problems, except at home with my daddy."

The author found self-confidence without any encouragement from his parents. This strength and tenacity of spirit are commendable and inspirational. As they read Caplinger's story, many readers will likely weep for or with him as they journey through shedding their own bad memories. While some people can find their internal strength alone, most rely on someone in the proverbial village to lift them up. Whether a teacher, a church leader, or a relative, anyone can help a child see their worth simply by caring. To illustrate this point, Caplinger describes a church pastor and his wife: "Art and Shirley really worked a lot with the teenagers of the church and did many things to broaden our perspectives."

If ever there was a semiautobiographical story written with the ability for almost everyone to relate to, it is this one. It is safe to say that most people have childhood memories of powerlessness and vulnerability, and nearly everyone has had someone in their life determined to destroy their self-worth. Caplinger's story may be more extreme due to his rough upbringing with an emotionally and physically abusive father, but his struggles will still strike a familiar chord with most, even if their personal challenges have been different than his. Readers will likewise find inspiration from the bravery, resilience, and fortitude chronicled in these pages.

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