With the assistance of Mack (The 4400, 2009, etc.), Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart winner Anderson looks at his life after a devastating explosion in the streets of Baghdad left him a triple amputee.
The opening chapter, “Alive Day,” details the mindset of a soldier as he prepares for a routine task—escorting a general through Baghdad—and the minutia (vehicle checks, locating preferred soda, checking on his fellow soldiers) that helped to anchor his experiences. The bomb that hit Anderson’s vehicle, a version of an improvised explosive device dubbed an EFP (explosively formed penetrator), followed a path directly through the driver’s side of the truck he was driving. Anderson woke up in Walter Reed Army Hospital facing more than a year of recovery and rehabilitation. Imbued with a steady stream of positive thinking and can-do philosophy, the narrative chronicles Anderson’s insistence that he master the use of prosthetic legs and his determination to thrive in environments outside of the hospital or rehab. In straightforward, occasionally treacly language, the author describes the life he has made for himself and the joy of discovering new experiences like snowboarding, dating, traveling the country as a spokesperson, acting and working as a stuntman.
An undoubtedly admirable, inspirational story—but not for readers who don’t enjoy inspirational memoirs.