"It’s hard to be human… more importantly, understanding how the family unit provides the warmth, shelter, care, love, and long-lasting bonds that shape our evolution."

There comes an inflection point in life where one decision will literally shape the outcome of all subsequent occurrences. In Edwards’ memoir, readers are privy to a genuine and authentic reflection of his life experiences that encompass the highest highs and lowest lows. While the purpose of a memoir is to be an open book, being as candid and vulnerable as Edwards often is about his personal life—versus highlighting only the great parts—is a difficult and commendable undertaking.

The catalyst in the author’s life is a bombshell revelation from his wife that she would like a divorce. The image he paints of complete normalcy, with a Seinfeld episode going on in the background as this calamitous event is unfolding, is appropriately ironic. Nevertheless, Edwards attempts to truly examine what went wrong from a behavioral and psychological standpoint. What prompts an individual to take the actions he or she takes, especially of such magnitude and with the knowledge that the decision will likely be a destructive one for those in her orbit?

As the author transports readers back to his formative years, his three-year-old self packed tightly with his other three siblings in a darkened ten-by-ten bedroom in Oakland, California, weighs heavily on him. On the other hand, his love for baseball and his first crush, Nancy Peterson, go hand in hand and provide a refreshingly positive take on the author’s upbringing. The imagery of the young sweethearts dancing to "Our Day Will Come" epitomizes the universal innocence of young love and living in the moment while the inevitability of separation lies in wait.

In the same vein as love, Edwards recalls being introduced in class to one of his favorite books, The Underground Railroad, and experiencing an immediate kindling of his innate empathetic nature toward humanity. Moreover, his recollection of the outpouring of emotions on November 22nd, 1963, following the assassination of President Kennedy is incredibly surreal. Conjure the image of being an elementary student on your typical recess break, hoping for a brief respite from academia and instead watching as chaos unfolds. Being able to see a key moment in US history from the vantage point of an individual who grew up in it is incredibly intriguing.

From ten-speed bikes and roller skating to partaking in CYO basketball and envisioning himself as Willie Mays in the batter’s box in Little League, Edwards demonstrates that he has had a range of experiences and has belonged to numerous communities. In fact, at their core his associations both in his youth and present day are tied closely to that sense of community and instill positivity and confidence in those he comes into contact with. Interestingly, Edwards is an everyman, a model citizen whose passions (like football and the 49ers) are relatable, while his concerns, such as acne, are even more so. For instance, his fears at the time of being drafted into the Vietnam War are palpable, a concern that most American male teenagers likely had during that era of growing up.

More than anything else, however, the book circles back from his earlier years to the cycle of love and loss as it pertains to his ex-wife, Robbin. The author is introspective and, at times, appears to be speaking directly to Robbin through his readers. Themes of quality time and happiness take center stage, highlighting a fruitful courtship but a tangential change once a baby arrives. On all accounts, Edwards’ book is one that will strike a chord with all readers. In some way, shape, or form, everyone will be able to resonate with Edwards’ effort to be an open book.

Return to USR Home