Thursday, November 20, 2014

Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne and Ken Abraham

Imagine being thirteen, in a strange city, hundreds of miles away from home, and your mom abandons you at a bus station, driving off into the night with her lover.
It's a miracle Jimmy Wayne survived his growing-up years. Hungry, homeless, and bouncing in and out of the foster care system, Jimmy spent more nights wandering and sleeping in the streets than he cares to remember. His father left before he was born. And his mama, when she wasn't in a mental hospital or behind bars for various small offenses, was simply too overwhelmed, trying to survive herself.
Walk to Beautiful is the powerfully emotive account of Jimmy's childhood and the unconditional love and acceptance Russell and Bea Costner gave to Jimmy. This elderly couple provided a stable home and the chance for him to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, "She changed every cell in my body." After his high school graduation, Jimmy went on to earn a degree in Criminal Justice because, as he says, "I knew a lot about it." But in his heart Jimmy wanted to write songs and sing.
A music company opened its doors to Jimmy, and he moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams. He had several memorable hits, such as I Love You This Much, Paper Angels, and Do You Believe Me Now, which remained at #1 for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Chart.
But success was not satisfying. Jimmy remembered where he came from, and he wanted to give back. With his Meet Me Halfway campaign—a 1,700 mile walk from Nashville to Phoenix—Jimmy walked halfway across America, raising awareness for foster children. Along the way he not only found a lot of crazy things, such as coins, keys, a plastic Jesus, and a Lucille Ball ashtray; but he also found himself. And more important, he found a way to forgive the people who had hurt him. Jimmy learned how to walk to beautiful—and so can you.
My review:
    I was a little familiar with Jimmy Wayne, having heard his song "Paper Angels", and also read the book, and was intrigued by his story, so I requested his book to review when I saw it listed.
  The book should come with a warning. I was moved to tears multiple times, found myself infuriated with adults that could treat a young boy so horribly, and found myself wanting to go out and adopt a bunch of kids who have no one to love them and care for them. It is a very moving and emotional story, and though I didn't read it in one sitting, as time didn't allow that, I would have liked to. It is a very gripping read.
   Jimmy has written a very transparent book by telling his story. He pulls no punches, telling his own shortcomings, as well as those who mistreated him along the way. The book chronicles his early years on up through his rising career as a country music artist, and the the things he faced along the way.
  This will sound cynical of me, but I have always been skeptical of celebrities who claim to be Christian, especially when there is nothing in their life that indicates they have a relationship with Jesus. However, you can see the hand of God on Jimmy Wayne's life, and it is obvious in the way he turned out. Most kids going through what he did would have gone bad, or been killed at a young age, but God sent him to the right people who helped turn his life around and helped him to make something of his life.
  I highly recommend the book. It is sad reading what Jimmy went through as a boy, yet is also an encouraging and inspiring story to see where he has come from to where he is now. This may be the best non-fiction book I have read all year, and possibly the best biography/memoir type of book I have ever read.
About the authors:
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned country music singer/songwriter whose songs and story highlight his mission to bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless. In 2010 Jimmy walked halfway across America raising awareness for these kids. He won the millionaire award for having 100,000,000 radio spins in America of his song Do You Believe Me Now, is the author of the novel Paper Angels, and the national spokesperson for CASA.

Ken Abraham is a fourteen-time New York Times best-selling author known around the world for his collaborations with high-profile public figures. A former professional musician and pastor, he is a popular guest with both secular and religious media. His books include One Soldier's Story with Bob Dole, Payne Stewart with Tracey Stewart,Falling in Love for All the Right Reasons with Dr. Neil Clark Warren, and Let's Roll! with Lisa Beamer.

Walk to Beautiful is available from Thomas Nelson Publishing
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the review copy.