Kirkus Reviews QR Code


A Memoir

by Jan Reid

Pub Date: March 12th, 2002
ISBN: 0-7679-0595-4
Publisher: Broadway

Memoir by an American journalist shot and paralyzed in a Mexico City robbery.

Texas Monthly writer Reid (Close Calls, not reviewed) begins with the 1998 shooting, backtracks to the events leading up to it, and then covers it again in more detail. Born in 1945 in Wichita Falls, Texas, Reid suffered with a “girl’s name,” a skinny body, and no football skill. Two warm adult relationships provide the backbone of his story. In 1980, Reid met Dorothy Browne, an ACLU worker and mother of a four-year-old girl. Their happy marriage survived the stress of his injuries and rehab. Reid develops paternal feelings for Jesus Chavez, a 22-year-old world-class boxer he trains with in a dumpy Austin gym. Jesus is hiding from the immigration authorities in Texas after serving a prison term for an adolescent robbery in Illinois (where his name was Gabriel Sandoval). Perpetual Mexican/Texan tensions are exacerbated by the harsher 1996 immigration laws, which lead to Jesus’ deportation. Reid and friends travel to Mexico City to see him fight, unaware that the State Department has classified the city as a dangerous foreign destination. Hijacked in a green VW Beetle, Reid provokes a gunman and is shot. In recovery scenes reminiscent of those in Joseph Heller’s No Laughing Matter, a multitude of friends provide support, but it's Reid's own hard work that heals his body. Kind, pretty therapists and the desire to box again ease the pain and frustration. The stimulation of sexual desire with a Caverject needle creates a hilarious, if painful, scene. The memoir wraps up with Reid redux, returning to the scene of the crime and Jesus, green card in hand, anticipating a bout with featherweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Honest and likable, paying tribute to the love of family and friends that helped Reid survive.