I'll be perfectly honest-- other then assigned books that I HAD to read for high school and college, I rarely pick up biographies or autobiographies at a bookstore.
Three to four years ago I never read a young adult novel until the Twilight Saga. Now I am addicted.
A couple of weeks ago I was trying to track down my mom in Barnes & Noble and found her in the biography section. They are her type of books. As I was trying to help her find a couple of books on the Holocaust (crazy right?) I saw this striking book cover with the title Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead. I read the inside flap and I wanted it. But for some reason I put the book back. I went home and for 4 days my brain, one way or another, could not stop thinking about that book. I finally drove back and bought it. In the days that passed and the book became an extension of my hands, I came to learn things about a movement that I suddenly realized I basically knew nothing about and the things I thought I knew were completely wrong.
Several days ago I never read an autobiography on my own free will. Thanks to Frank Meeink, my mind has opened up to a new genre.
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead is the story of Frank Meeink's violent childhood filled with abuse and neglect and his descent into America's Nazi underground. The book chronicles his years as a Skinhead in South Philly and his scary rise to leadership of his own group called "Strike Force". He tells us about his years on the streets, his years in prison, his years of trying to turn his life around, and his years of battling drug addiction.
Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead has taught me many thing, such as the true definition of a Skinhead, how one becomes a Skinhead, the difference between a Skinhead, the KKK, and other white supremacist associations. Frank's words have introduced me to all kinds of new terminology, people, and groups, such as SHARPs (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice).
Frank's story has taught me the true meaning of the phrase "there is a thin line between love and hate" and most importantly, the power of self-worth and forgiveness.
I wanted this post to be more of a recommendation than a review because I truly feel that reading this book is an experience one should explore and come to terms with on their own. I don't want to sit here and analyze, dissect, or JUDGE. I just want to make people aware that this book exists and despite how I feel about Frank Meeink himself, it needs to be read.
The book is vulgar, raw, and makes no apologies in its brutal honesty and that is why somehow, some way kids need to be exposed to it. Despite the profanity, the violence, and other sometimes offensive comments, Frank's story will not only benefit the ignorant adult but may save the lives of teens going down a very bad path.