A sad, brutally honest, and emotionally gritty memoir ... the kind of narrative that vividly brings to the page the realities of someone ignored by the system and trapped by the streets ... chronicles his harrowing, inspiring journey from those days to becoming a graduate of Harvard University ... not an easy read. Leon writes with candor about everything he experienced ... inspiring. It is also a story that shows the importance of reaching out — and how even the most misguided youth can still fulfill their potential when given the right opportunities ... This memoir reads like a novel, but it's important to remember it's not ... Yes, that's brutal, but the unflinching way in which Leon talks about himself and those around him should be mandatory reading because it exposes a lot of systemic flaws that are still affecting people today ... more than the chronicle of one man's life; it is a map that can helps us understand the places in which help can turn the life of the disenfranchised into success stories ... Leon's memoir is a powerful, raw chronicle of survival that morphs into a moving story about mentorship, strength, familial love, self-transformation.
... powerful and heartbreaking ... Leon’s difficult and emotional journey from childhood to Harvard graduate is filled with overcoming obstacles such as poverty, racism, drug and alcohol addiction, and sexual abuse. Leon’s journey leads to figuring out his own identity, coming to terms with his sexuality, and using his voice to help others who are suffering in similar ways ... A raw, emotional memoir filled with highs and lows. The inspirational ending gives readers hope when Leon uses his self-will and determination to change and accept the love from those around him.
... a staggering tale of survival ... As he offers an unflinching account of his drug addiction Leon renders in tender prose his mother’s unflagging support, a constant that remained even when her own health began to fail her ... Despite the grimness of his subject matter, Leon’s story of resilience pulsates with verve and breathtaking grace. The result is a gripping portrait of perseverance that radiates with humanity.