I read this book to my boys every night before they go to bed. Davy begs me to read more every night, and I usually do because I’m hooked too. This story seems to be made for boys, especially boys with ADHD. The true story starts with a group of American soldiers marooned on a raft in the Pacific for 27 days. When they finally see a plane, they send up flares, only to discover that the plane is an enemy plane. The plane shoots at them, and while the soldiers slide under their raft for cover, the sharks that have been stalking their rafts are finally read to attack. This all happens in the first chapter.
The story then takes you to back to the childhood of one the American soldiers, Louie Zavarzini. Was he a handful! While, the book never explicitly says so, it’s apparent he had ADHD. He was into to so much trouble, and my boys were riveted by his shenanigans. I was appalled. Still, it was somewhat therepeutic to read about families that also have their challenges.
However, Louie’s older brother saved him by pushing him into track. He finally had a place to release his energy, and his drive would help him reach the Olympics. He hoped to go to the Olympics again in 1940 for gold when the war broke out.
This book is fabulous for families who are dealing with ADHD. It gives you hope. Louie’s parents were good people, but they went through a period of time where they simply could not control their son. His father was very strict with him, but it didn’t matter. Louie just rebelled more. It seemed to be an act of grace that their other son, Pete, was able to push him onto the track and start coaching him. It’s inspiring to see the changes Louie makes although he never seems to lose his mischievous side. (He stole a Nazi flag while competing in the Olympics in Germany and got into some serious trouble.)
Hildenbrand is such an excellent writer that you are able to get completely lost in the story. I do have to change some of the words and phrase that I don’t think my boys would understand, but for the most part, I was able to read it straight to my kids.
It is an affirming story that inspired me to keep looking for channels where my boys can unleash their energy and really soar. Ben is asking me if he can read it on his own when I am done. Ben hates to read. That tells you something.