Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Most Unlikely to Succeed

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review - Most Unlikely to Succeed

About the Book
Nelson Lauver resigned himself to being hopelessly different.  Growing up in the idyllic 1960’s, his youthful hope and optimism turned into struggle and shame as he fell far behind in school and was branded lazy.  In his remarkable new book Most Unlikely to Succeed, he shares what it’s like to be one of the millions of Americans who try to hide their inability to read and write.

Nelson Lauver – fifth grade photo  

Here’s just one of the dozens of stories he shares. 

I’m dyslexic. As a kid in school, I didn’t know it, nor did my teachers--and if they did know about dyslexia, they surely didn’t know what to do about it.   
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep up with the class.  I was called lazy, I was criticized and I was laughed at.

In third grade I realized I needed to come up with a plan to cope with school.  I was perilously close to being labeled “the dumb kid” and that would be the ultimate embarrassment

I decided to create a new persona, “the bad kid.”  It wasn’t who I wanted to be, but who (in my little boy mind) I thought I had to be to get through school.   The decision came easily, almost automatically – and in short order, I had my first of many encounters with the school disciplinarian, Miss Marybeth.

Miss Marybeth was a sturdy Pennsylvania Dutch woman in her 50’s. She was pious and strongly believed in “spare the rod and spoil the child.”

As I sat waiting in the chair of counsel, I devised a plan, a brilliant plan, I thought—and one that I'm still shamefully proud of. I decided I would place the onus of my bad behavior squarely at the feet of another…

As Miss Marybeth presented herself to deal with my poor behavior, she instinctively laid the paddle of discipline on her desk.  

“Nelson,” she said with her thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

I looked down at my shoes and quietly said, “I didn’t do it.”

“Speak up! What did you say?”

“I said I didn’t do it!”

“Oh, I see, Nelson, then perhaps you’d like to share who actually threw the textbook at Mrs. Clark? I suppose you are going to tell me it was Danny Aucker?”

“No, Ma’am, it wasn’t Danny.”

“I know it wasn’t Danny, he’s a good Christian boy! I think you threw the book, Nelson, didn’t you?”

“No, it wasn’t me.”

“Then do tell, Nelson. Who was it? “

I swallowed hard for effect and kept my eyes focused on my shoes. After a dramatic pause, and one more coaxing from Miss Marybeth, I softly uttered, “It was Satan.”

Miss Marybeth gasped and pushed back in her chair.

“Oh, dear heavens, Nelson!” She inquired, “Did you hear a voice?”

“Uh … uh … yeah ... yes …YES. I heard a voice, and it told me to throw the book at Mrs. Clark.”

“Oh dear, oh dear,” she said, as she instinctively adjusted her prayer covering. “Did the voice say anything else?”

“Yes!” I said, now confident that she was buying what I was selling. “Yes, Satan said he wants you to paddle my backside until it turns purple.”

She sprang to her feet in utter defiance and boldly proclaimed, “I WILL NOT!”

It was clear, based upon everything I knew about Hell, poor behavior was guaranteed admission. Minding your teachers was a prerequisite for having St. Peter show you favor and swing open the Pearly Gates of Heaven. But Miss Marybeth’s big, wooden paddle was clearly in the here and now, and I feared the near-term threat my actions bore far more than the eternal, unrelenting fires of Hell.

At age 29, a chance encounter leads to a diagnosis of dyslexia and a profound rebirth.  Ironically, the boy who was afraid to have anyone hear him try to read launches a new career as a writer, broadcaster, and speaker.

An estimated 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from a learning disability.  14 percent of Americans are considered functionally illiterate.

More than personalizing these sobering statistics, his uplifting stories go well beyond one man’s account of rising above a learning disability. 

Most Unlikely to Succeed is an inspirational story that will speak eloquently and profoundly to anyone who has ever struggled to be heard, to be understood, or to make his or her way in the world.

My Take on the BookThis was definitely an inspirational tale of overcoming adversity. This is not the first story that I have heard about people getting diagnosed late in life with a learning disorder. When I hear these things I always wonder to myself, how would this person's life have been different if it had been caught earlier.

This book is a great book for anyone that is personally dealing with a learning disorder or has a loved one with one as well. You get a very intimate inside look into what it is like to have a learning disability and the struggles that come along with it.

I know that my eyes were opened as we are dealing with some issues that we are examining right now that could end up being deemed a learning disability in one of our own children and with this in mind I want to make sure that I do everything that I can to assist her in being successful!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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