"Let people know you’ve been here. Leave a legacy, not by what you say, or you accomplish in materials terms, but by your actions."

Arthur Mercado was known affectionately by his four granddaughters simply as Papa Cado. Crisci’s memoir about his friend resulted from spending months together at the Scripps Hospital in California. After an early five-bypass, followed by nearly thirty stents, eleven angioplasties, multiple mini-strokes, nitro patches, and numerous other cardiac ailments (totaling more than fifty medical procedures), Papa Cado was still fighting strong and enjoying life with his wife and best friend, Susan. And that’s all before we learn about his later struggles with Parkinson’s. Crisci takes readers on a remarkable journey through the life of his protagonist, along the way sharing insights and life lessons learned.

Once the reader gets used to the style and approach used in the creation of this book, it is nearly impossible to put the tome down. For pugnacious readers who enjoy detailed life accounts of people struggling medically in many ways, yet who overcome each obstacle through the love of family, self-determination, and a healthy dose of humor, all 320-plus pages are a joy to consume. The memoir does seem a bit long towards the end, with all the appendix-style. special feature add-ons (such as letters to and from Mercado), as well as places in the text where portions of his story—though utterly remarkable—are told again in repetitive style. Nevertheless, the intelligent reader accepts this easily, understanding that one of Crisci’s strengths in telling the life story of his friend lies in its detailed thoroughness. This book is a testament, one which not only celebrates the life of “an ordinary man” but which positively proclaims as its hallmark message that with supportive loved ones, grit, hard work, and a fiercely unique sense of humor, any obstacle thrown one’s way can indeed be overcome.

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