Life-Ology 101: If All Else Fails, Smile
By Michael Soward
Paperback: 68 pages
Publisher: XLIBRIS (September 16, 2013)
About the Author: Michael Soward, music producer of cutting edge music for almost 30 years, has released his first novel, “Life-ology 101”. The book is receiving acclaim nation-wide for being an inspirational story of transformation and the power of the smile. His mother died in a hospital when he was two months of becoming two years old. His grandmother then takes him along with his younger brother to her hometown of Blytheville, Arkansas where she would raise them.He then shares how his early life in the south along with grandmother Eva’s constant beatings and whippings came to scare and affect him so deeply mentally, physically, and spiritually later in life. He experienced many trials and tribulations that many an African American faced by the nature of their skin color rather than for who they were or what they did. But American society was evolving and with Michael Soward’s indomitable spirit he overcame these obstacles by sticking to his philosophy of smiling into the face of adversity and never giving in. He eventually discovers that smiling would become one of the great medicines of his life as a powerful future would continue to unfold.
Michael Soward currently lives and serves in New York as an independent nationwide consultant for aspiring Gospel and Jazz artist and writers. He continues to help build careers and recording products within these industries through his persistence, knowledge of these markets, promotion and marketing skills
This story begins in Arkansas with the nine-year-old Michael, and his younger brother, abandoned by their father, living with their strict grandmother who regularly beats them. The family attend church regularly, he discovers at a young age, he has a gift for playing the organ and it is the beginning of a lifelong love of music.
In 1969, after working hard in the cotton fields, at eighteen he finally ‘escapes’ to live with relatives in Kansas City. Moving to the big city has a profound effect on the young man from the Deep South, especially at such a time of change, the age of drugs, sex and rock and roll had definitely arrived.
The story, which follows, is of one man’s journey, his marriage, fatherhood, hopes, dreams and foibles. It is frank and honest, brutally so sometimes. He openly talks about his relationship with his father, the driving forces in his life and the leaps of faith, which have made him into the man he is today. Throughout, this book runs a vein of the author’s deep religious belief and his faith in God, the importance of his church and love of music, which has sustained him through times of deep despair.
I have always loved reading memoirs, catching a glimpse into peoples’ lives and discovering the experiences, which have made them the person they are today. This is a very honestly written book, interesting and thought provoking, the journey of a young boy from the Deep South who ends up a father and grandfather living in New York, and all the bits in-between.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
(21 November 2013)