It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to read and review a book before its publication. You can imagine my delight when Adam Shepard, the author of Scratch Beginnings, contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reading his book. Now technically the book has been around for a couple of years now, as it was originally self-published, but now it’s been picked up by Collins to be published. In fact since I’ve had the book it’s actually been published and you can now find it at your favorite bookstore or at Amazon.com. You can also enter a contest that I’m holding where I’m giving away three signed copies of Scratch Beginnings.
Scratch Beginnings was a fun read. It’s an Autobiography that sometimes makes you feel as if you are reading a journal. For anyone who’s ever read their siblings or significant others journal you know how much fun this can be. The plot is simple. The author, Adam Shepard, is to undergo an experiment where he will move to a random city in the Southeast U.S. with nothing but $25 dollars, a sleeping bag, the clothes on his back and an extraordinarily strong will to succeed. His goal is to prove, or disprove, the notion that one can not rise above their situation. His secondary goals are to have $2,500 dollars in cash, a fully furnished apartment and a car that is in good working condition after the period of one year.
Criticism and Defense
The major criticism against this book is that the author is a white, educated male and therefore any such “experiments” are immediately flawed. I think that we can safely brush aside the notion that just because Adam has a college degree the experiment is flawed. He did a wonderful job of completely immersing himself in the experiment and never once did he reveal his formal education or any related qualifications while interacting with those around him. It’d be foolish of me to pretend that white privilege is not in existence and that he had nothing to gain from being white, but I’m of the opinion that if it made any such difference it was not much at all.
The fact is that he was dedicated to his goals and he worked hard every single day to accomplish them. Things weren’t ever easy for him, but he always pushed ahead knowing that he could make something out of himself no matter what life threw his way.
Wrapping it Up
What I enjoyed most about Scratch Beginnings was how real it seemed. Of course being an Autobiography that’s how it’s supposed to be, but usually Autobiographies seem stuffy and often unrealistic. Not Scratch Beginnings though. Everything about this book screams reality, from the difficulties on the streets to the abrasive language often spoken by characters that you meet. It likely won’t ever be listed on the NY Times Best Sellers list (due to its limited mass-market appeal), but you can be sure that it will be respected by all who read it for the sheer level of honesty and commitment that the author portrays.