23 January, 2011

Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead

Title: Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead
Author: Frank Meeink as told to Jody M Roy
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book (personal collection)

Synopsis: Frank Meeink had a tough time growing up. Both his parents were alcoholics-addicts, his step father beat him and love was hard to come by. When a cousin introduced him to a bunch of skinheads who took an active interest in him, it was an easy to step to a life of hatred, violence and racism. By sixteen he was one of the most notorious skinhead leaders . A stint in prison had him questioning his beliefs, and while he left the white supremacy movement, he started a descent into drug addiction that almost destroyed him. This is his story of how he went down into hell and has clawed his way back up.

What I thought: Wow. The thing that strikes me particularly about this book is how gut wrenchingly truthful it is. Frank Meeink has left nothing out, tells all of his days as a high level member of the white supremacy movement, the assaults he took part in, the beliefs he held and the crumbling of that belief system. This in turn led to a serious drug addiction (he was already an alcoholic) which threatened his life several times. An interview at the back of the book of Frank Meeink and Jody M Roy details the huge amount of research that went into making sure the events described in the book are truthful. There is no "I think" only "I did". It's not an easy read, but it's a book you can look at several ways. It's a book about surviving child abuse, a book about surviving alcoholism and drug abuse, a book about being a member of the white supremacy movement, a book about how hard it is to survive all of that. For me it was a book about how to avoid all of that. Meeink's brutal truth telling shows how it really is, how sordid and hard it is and how the best way to recover from it is never go there in the first place. From a man who I am sure I would have feared at some stage, I would love to meet Meeink to tell how truly courageous and inspirational he is.
Recommended for: those who like true life stories that are gritty and have a true message.

Challenges: A-Z Challenge,  100+ Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge