As I read Walter Anderson's memoir, Meant to Be, I couldn't decide if Anderson wrote with the same voice as he does for the readers of Parade magazine, or if I was just expecting more from a book that promised to tell "the true story of a son who discovers he is his mother's deepest secret."
Nothing against Parade magazine, but I only flip through it if I have ten minutes to spare, and there is nothing else around for me to read.
Regardless, Anderson's elementary style does deter, for me, from what could have been a great story of what my dad would have called "rising above it."
Born on the wrong side of the tracks in Mount Vernon, New York, Anderson opens his retrospective work by describing one of the many beatings that he received from his alcoholic father. The youngest of three children, Walter learns to deal with his situation at home by escaping into the pool halls, the home of his best friend, his novels [which angered his father further], and, at one point, into being academically outstanding.
Dissatisfied and angry at his father's continued abuse, Anderson, however, quits high school at sixteen and joins the Marines, a move that took him to Vietnam and brought him back to the states able to face the demons of his past -- one of those demons being the father who beat him.
When his father died, Walter finds out from his mother that the man who treated him so miserably was not his biological father -- a secret that Walter would keep for the next thirty-five years.
This memoir is Walter's journey from being a abused young man into a successful editor of Parade magazine and an author of five books.
It's a good, decent read -- it's just not a demanding one. :)
BTW: A book that greatly influenced Anderson --- Elie Wiesel's Night.