"The thing I like about me was I never gave up. I was always positive. That was and still is my outlook."

The author can recall pleasant times from his childhood in a black neighborhood in a small town in Maine. Yet he suffered trauma, twice sustaining serious burns, rejected by his mother who favored his older brothers, and then, in high school, jailed after being falsely accused of theft. Though he had credible witnesses, he was found guilty and spent several months in jail and rehab. Determined to get ahead and to own a house, he took various jobs, getting promoted more than once but also being fired, and once being accused by a white co-worker of harassment. After a stroke, he was unable to pay his mortgage. Through his continued efforts, navigating complex social systems, and getting help from several organizations, he was finally able to pay for his home and receive assistance to which he was entitled. Feeling free at last, his next goals include traveling through America by train and plane.

Brett writes forcefully, explaining but not complaining about the many times he suffered unfair treatment, almost certainly based on his race. He makes the reader aware of the atmosphere of his youth—segregated schools, a military draft that disproportionately targeted black men to fight in Viet Nam, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.—leading at last to a time when a black man could become the US President. He carefully details the circumstances he endured in his work life, the disparities between his high level of competence and the envy or bias of destructive co-workers, and his unwavering resolve to try again and again to succeed. The author takes great pride in his achievement of owning his own home after his childhood in poverty. He completes his memoir with exhortations to others to persevere and learn to make good decisions and strong choices for themselves, as he has done.

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