The mother of NBA basketball superstar, Shaquille O'Neal, Lucille O'Neal chronicles her life story in the memoir Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go. O'Neal describes the challenges she faced growing up with divorced parents and relates how personal struggles with feelings of inferiority ultimately led to teenage pregnancy and alcohol abuse. Brought up in the church, O'Neal recounts how God drew her back to her faith through the ups and downs of marriage and parenting and how faith empowered her to change her life.
Overall, I found the book interesting, but the finer points of her message were a bit troubling. O'Neal's story is inspiring because of the hope it offers to those, particularly women, who find themselves without the resources to achieve their dreams. Her emphasis on the role faith played in her transformation was key for me because obviously, very, very few people will experience the meteoric rise in fortune that O'Neal did once her son joined the NBA. I did find myself wondering how much of her optimism and change in self-esteem came from her new status. I was also concerned by O'Neal's willingness to leave her marriage when she didn't feel that she was in love anymore. While she acknowledges her husband's support in the raising of her family, she, unfortunately, paints a picture of marriage as an institution that stifles personal fulfillment. Despite these issues, I enjoyed reading about O'Neal's life, and her primary message about the power of faith is certainly an important one.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.