A debut chronicle of one man’s outrage about the American justice system.
“Is the difference in this country between ‘moral’ and ‘legal’ something with which you are comfortable?” Ventura asks. In this memoir, he makes it clear that he’s not comfortable with it, and that he seeks to “bring justice to the Ventura family.” His hardworking father, Joseph Ventura, with the aid of his children, crafted his own version of the American Dream, turning his rental properties, construction skills and ability to see a bargain into a thriving business enterprise. “I stood high upon the top step, the ladder my father built, with my family by my side,” the author writes. After Joseph died, however, it all came crashing down. The author asserts that his alcoholic mother began to drink even more, and fell into a series of relationships with men who manipulated her finances. The court system then failed to uphold a trust that the author’s father intended to leave the family. In the end, Ventura says, the only ones who benefited from the resulting family split were lawyers and con men. But the author’s problems with the establishment don’t end there, as he contends that his efforts to do the right thing were misunderstood, and he cites lawyers and federal and state agencies that he believes have denied him justice over the past 30 years. “I have done all I can to show people that what they did and how they responded to my pleas for help was wrong,” he writes. Readers may be disturbed by his accounts of being physically escorted out of offices and courtrooms, and of orders of protection taken out against him during divorce and custody struggles. This memoir has an earnest, conversational prose style. Overall, however, readers may find this rambling account hard to follow. The author discusses his former drug addiction and arrests, but it’s not clear whether they happened when he was working at his towing or construction jobs, pursuing court cases, contacting the FBI, fighting for his marriage or negotiating custody. Although the book occasionally mentions dates, legal cases and letters, the chronological sequence of its events often seems muddled.
A ruminative but sometimes-confusing memoir.