Verdict: LESSONS LEARNED is a warm, genuine, alternately funny and touching series of stories about the life of a truly likeable and admirable man.
Brian Scott Sherman has, by anyone’s standards, led an eventful life. Twice-married with four children, he has served his country through a career in the Air Force, lost a brother to a tragic accident, seen his mother win the lottery, nearly lost a daughter at birth, and endured any number of less harrowing (but much funnier) experiences. In this book, he shares some of the key events of his life, with an eye to lessons learned.
Sherman is an appealing narrator – a genuinely good man, patriotic, kind-hearted, willing to stop to comfort a dying accident victim, read to Korean orphans, or go out of his way to fetch his grandmother’s false teeth back after she lost them by the side of the highway. He is by no means too perfectly saintly to be likeable, though, and is cheerfully willing to be honest about the less-commendable or more embarrassing moments in his life, too. In all cases, he writes with a natural narrative style, which lacks professional smoothness, perhaps, but draws the reader into an intimate and personal connection. His wry sense of humor and willingness to tell tales on himself make it easy to laugh along with, rather than at, him, and the sadder parts of the book are related with a genuine, heartfelt depth that is equally hard to resist.
While Sherman is deeply religious, his religion is presented matter-of-factly as an important part of his life without explicit preaching or attempts to convert the reader. His “lessons learned” are generally sensible and relevant, if sometimes very specific to the situation involved. The only real flaw he has as a writer is that he gets so involved in retelling the events that he sometimes overdoes the scene-setting, weighing his stories down with too much detail. The back cover is somewhat over-hyped in its promise that the book will leave you “Laughing. Crying. Shouting.” While it has its moments of intensity, the book is more of an interesting slice-of-life autobiography than an emotional melodrama. However, it will certainly lead to smiles, perhaps a few tears, and a feeling of real connection with another human being’s life. That alone makes it worth a read.
LESSONS LEARNED is a warm, genuine, alternately funny and touching series of stories about the life of a truly likeable and admirable man.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader