January 6th
by John Sizer

"All the things I hated while growing up were now providing me with the tools I needed to survive this situation."

Despite a challenging upbringing, the author of this book tells his life story about dealing with adversity and utilizing a powerhouse work ethic to become financially powerful working as a physical education teacher and coach. That American Dream happy ending came crashing to a halt, however, when it was revealed that his wife had been mishandling the family funds and lying about it for years. It came to a head when she was sent to prison unexpectedly. Having to pick up the pieces and start over from scratch, Sizer used that same work ethic and lessons learned a lifetime ago to help him restart his career and continue to support his daughter. This is a whirlwind autobiographical tale of football dreams and the endless hustle of working five jobs not just to get by but to get ahead.

The incredible details of a youth spent chasing independence and the NFL are joined with the marital drama of being paired with someone with whom there is a lukewarm connection at best. That the marriage is then ripped apart by lies and criminal behavior makes this read at times like a small-town melodrama. The fact that this is a memoir makes it all the more gripping, as the author's ability to use his industriousness to see him through setbacks keeps the pages turning until the very end. The whole read amounts to much more than a "woe is me" kind of story, thanks to Sizer's self-awareness of his missteps and lapses in judgment. That kind of full-picture storytelling makes his book a trustworthy and compelling one. Inspiring and emotional, this story proves that anything is possible and that no situation is too big to bounce back from with the right dedication.

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