Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Full House But Empty by Angus Munro Book Review

Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (September 25, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595437192
ISBN-13: 978-0595437191

Book Synopsis: Filled with anecdotes, lessons learned, and an inspirational message for everyone, who believes that hard work breeds success, this moving autobiography shares the remarkable story of Angus Munro. Munro is just three when he suffers from appendicitis and spends several weeks in a Vancouver hospital as his family struggles to survive the Great Depression. After finally arriving home, Munro asks his sister, "Where is Mummy?" and is promptly told his mother doesn't live there anymore. It is this traumatic event that changes the course of Munro's life forever. His father is suddenly a single parent while simulataneously turning into Munro's mentor and hero. He teaches Munro the motto, "Always do the right thing," while raising his children in an environment that is at the very least hectic, and more often completely chaotic. Through a potpourri of chronological and heartfelt tales, Munro reveals how he learned to view incidents in life in terms of responsibility, recognition, personal conduct, and consideration for others. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Munro perseveres, eventually attaining professional success. Munro's memoir is a wonderful tribute to his father's legacy and the greatest lesson of all - Whatever you do, follow through.

This book hit home very early on for me. At the age of 3, Angus suffers from appendicitis which causes him a lengthy hospital stay. Once released from the hospital, he returns to a home that his mother has left, without so much as a goodbye. Even though Angus's father is not perfect (by a long shot), I applaud the fact that he raised his children during the Great Depression and they never wanted for anything. I too was raised by a single parent who worked hard her entire life to provide for me, and like Angus's father, she isn't perfect but I admire her more than she knows. There is nothing harder, I imagine, than trying to raise a child by yourself when food and money are scarce.

 In this autobiography, Angus takes you down the path of his life - a path strewn with obstacles many of us can only imagine. Yet, in the end his conviction and strength carries him through it all. To say he had a hard life would truly be an understatement. After he drops out of school at 14, he isn't sure what his life will become. He holds various jobs, and has some time to visit relatives on both sides of his family that he had never met. The descriptive tone used is so nice to read, it makes you feel like you are sitting there with Angus, experiencing the things he is describing. I also love the way he draws on the positives of each experience and tells us the lesson he learned, whether good or bad. It is something I think the world needs more of today - we all have bad things happen, try to learn from them and move on, there's always tomorrow. One of the other amazing things is the detail this story is told in. Many of these events happened MANY years ago, yet you never feel as if you are lacking for information. The only thing I would have liked to heard more of was some of his personal life experiences as he got older. Otherwise, this is truly and excellent read, and something that has a lesson in it for all of us.
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