An inspiring true story about the power of hope, optimism, and grit in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
In his debut, former college basketball player and actor Baruti candidly chronicles his eventful life, from his poverty-laced childhood in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to his unlikely ascent starring in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The author begins with some cursory information about his genealogy before plunging into his family’s flight from their home and struggle to survive the horrific violence of civil war, all before the author was 10 years old. When the violence in the country became somewhat tolerable, his family settled in Kinshasa, where Baruti developed an obsession with basketball. He secured a scholarship to a prep school in America, but things went awry due to a self-interested distant cousin in the States, culture shock, an unsympathetic coach, and the ever looming threat of an invalid visa. Suspense builds as Baruti chronicles how he navigated the labyrinthine protocol of U.S. immigration law and the effect it had on his ability to play college basketball in his new home. But that was only one of the many hurdles that could have dashed his dreams at any moment. All of this drama unfolds in short, snappy chapters, and the author’s voice is friendly, clear, and direct. Much of the book centers on his love of basketball, but one needn’t be a sports fan to enjoy the book. Baruti’s optimism is so infectious and believable that readers can’t help but root for him; what may seem like naïve optimism masks an intelligent, steadfast, and defiant unwillingness to give up, no matter the odds. The author suffered countless setbacks on his journey. Consequently, by the time he makes it to Hollywood and lands a small role in a major film, readers will feel a palpable sense of triumph.
A moving, genuinely uplifting tale that highlights how resilient the human spirit can be.