Monday, May 7, 2012

True Strength: My Journey From Hercules To Mere Mortal - And How Nearly Dying Saved My Life - Kevin Sorbo

True Strength: My Journey From Hercules To Mere Mortal - And How Nearly Dying Saved My Life
Kevin Sorbo
Da Capo Press
Copyright: October 2011

The product description:
On television, Kevin Sorbo portrayed an invincible demigod; in his real life, a sudden health crisis left him partially blind and incapacitated at just thirty-eight years old. Yet since appearances are everything in Hollywood, he hid the full details about his condition from the press and continued to film Hercules, which was the number one TV series in the world. In this inspiring memoir, Sorbo shares the story of the crisis that ultimately redefined his measure of success.

True Strength is the story of transformation, persistence, and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Sorbo reflects on his childhood in Minnesota and his early acting days in Hollywood, to his charmed life as television’s beloved Hercules, and where he is today. He recounts the onset of his symptoms, his frightening hospitalization, and his arduous path to recovery. With this honest account of personal tragedy and triumph, Sorbo aims to blaze a trail for those who have ever suffered acute illness or a serious setback in life and are now struggling to find their way back. 
I just finished reading this book last night and my first reaction was "Wow!". What Kevin Sorbo has been through and how he's dealt with it has absolutely amazed me. I'll admit it, I picked up the book in part because I enjoyed watching the Hercules T.V, show (still do from the DVD's in fact) but also because I've met him at one of the fan conventions.

Most of the book is focused on what happened during and after the health crisis that nearly killed Kevin, but there's plenty of information scattered throughout about his early life and what it was like filming on the set of Hercules before it happened as well as after. Not to mention meeting and working with Sam, his wife-to-be.

There were plenty of moments that made me smile, and others that left me wondering "how is he going to get over this". True Strength is a very honest book, going as much into the hard times as the good times - and yes, there are good times there too. It's not just hard for him either. There are chapters written by Sam, his wife, as well as some of the actors who worked with Kevin on the set of Hercules, all of which added to the picture of what he was going through.

Normally I'm not a big fan of celebrity biographies - to me they just seem to be more glorification and excusing bad behaviour. That is definitely not the case with Kevin Sorbo's book at all. True Strength is well written, engaging and educational on a lot of levels, and there were times when it brought a tear to my eye.

I can see a few different groups of people who would be interested in this book: people who are fans of Hercules or Andromeda and Kevin in general would probably love it. I know I did. Doctors might find it interesting too, along with anyone who's interested in acting. However, the big market for True Strength should be anyone who's going through a serious illness or their family members.

Kevin Sorbo is a very real person, not a mythical demi-god, but in going through what he has, and the way he got through it, in a sense he has become even more "Hercules" than he was before. I have an even greater respect for him now, knowing more about his life than I did before too.

Congratulations on getting through all of this, Kevin, and may your life remain as it is at the end of the book: a good one with your family.

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