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A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found…

by Steve Pemberton

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1614143,942 (3.71)1
Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence. Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger. In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and begins to hope that one day he might have a different life.… (more)
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Please see my review on Amazon. com under C, Wong. Thank you. ( )
  Carolee888 | May 22, 2021 |
I guess I'm the only person in the world who hadn't heard about this story. Riveting first half of the book, as the author describes his childhood. 2nd half becomes preachy and if you didn't know that god has a plan to make a little boy suffer years of abuse so that he can attempt to affect some change in the foster system, this book will explain the ever-so-clear (???) logic of this plan. Ummmmm... yah... whatever. But despite the constant god reverence of the later chapters, it was a overall a really good book. Highly recommend. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 9, 2016 |
I cannot honestly say that this book grabbed me from page one. Actually, the first 3 or 4 chapters made me wonder if I would stick with it...but then it grabbed a hold of me and I mean a tight hold! God help anyone who interrupted my reading time once I fell in love with the story of this young abused boy! I'm quite sure that no other book has made me feel so angry before - angry with "The System" and bureaucracy in general. The events in this true story took place in the early 1970's and while I hope that the foster care system has improved dramatically since then, I am not convinced that it has. This young boy, Steve (Klakowicz) Pemberton, was failed repeatedly by so many people that we now call 'Mandated Reporters'.

What I like the most about this book is the lesson that small acts of kindness can mean more to the recipient than we ever know. A kind neighbor's gift of a box of books may sound small or insignificant to some, but to Steve the books were an escape to other worlds and the hope of making a new reality for himself someday. The books provided a critical coping mechanism that helped him survive in his harsh conditions.

Also notable about A Chance in the World is the historical perspective captured during a racially tumultuous time. This book could be used in a classroom setting and would teach volumes about determination and endurance as well as history.

Please note that I received a complementary advance reading copy from the publisher which has not influenced my review. Thank you. ( )
  TemeculaMomma | May 28, 2012 |
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Epigraph
The fullness of life is in the hazards of life. And,
at the worst, there is that within us, which can
turn defeat into victory.

- EDITH HAMILTON, REFERRING TO
THE GREEK DRAMATIST AESCHYLUS
Dedication
To Tonya, Quinn, Vaughn, and Kennedy
For being greater than my dreams

For Marian and Kenny
May this story, and this life, finally bring you peace
First words
For decades a recurring memory haunted me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence. Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger. In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and begins to hope that one day he might have a different life.

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