Recently, I had the opportunity to read an autobiography called "Dirty Laundry" by Ivan Von Baublitz, and let me tell you! I was immersed in this book for days!
The book's description is as follows:
On January 20, 1969. On the very day Richard Millhous Nixon became the 37th President, Ivan Baublitz was born. This inspiring narrative follows forty years of the Author's life and reads like a novel bringing the reader through a full array of emotions after every chapter. It recounts in vivid detail the anger and depression of growing up in poverty, the gripping homicidal effects of drugs, racism, police brutality and a broken government system.
Ivan's voice is expressed through a masterful use of syntax that reveals a soul that, while battered, is far from broken. His humor often shines through the dark and sometimes tragic circumstances he has to endure.
Relive and follow him in some of the most unimaginable situations, leading up to a meeting with a certain angel that will change his life for the better. Find out how a word as simple as "FAVOR" can make all the difference in the world.
This inspiring story will leave you never looking at your own Dirty Laundry the same.
Now, I'm an avid reader and I've read my share of novels. I prefer non-fiction or stories based on true events. Stories based on fact, even those loosely based on fact, add an element of reality that cannot be ignored. As the story begins to build, you can't simply shut down your emotions by saying, "It's okay because the events depicted are not real." Nope. You have to feel every raw emotion as you read, almost as if you're living through the events yourself.
That's precisely how Dirty Laundry will make you feel.
Dirty Laundry is a fast-paced book that begins before Baublitz is born. Even from the day of his conception, the certainty of his future is questionable—his life, from the day his mother became pregnant, is plagued with darkness. His mother is young, unmarried, and without the mental capacity to care for two children, but still attempts a life with their father. Clearly not the ideal "family" situation, Ivan and his brother experience abuse and neglect at the hands of their mother. Their father, unable to care for them and lacking the parental know-how to be a loving authority figure, sends them off to become a part of the foster care system.
It is here that Ivan and his brother realize they were thrown "to the wolves." It is here that they face a life of instability. Moving from foster home to foster home destroys any form of security the boys might have known. Within the foster care system, they face unspeakable horrors that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
During their stay at a military-style school called "Children's Town," Baublitz's brother begins to break. It is at Children's Town where Baublitz is subject to even more abuse at the hands of a farmhand—and his will to live is questioned.
Baublitz ends up homeless after authority figures fail him yet again and decides to track down his mother. This chapter of his life leads him to develop a new awareness for the poverty-stricken life. Drugs, robberies, gangs, prostitution, and domestic abuse are all-too-common in his mother's neck of the woods.
Throughout the book, Baublitz runs into many different dangerous and even life-threatening situations that no one should ever have to face.
Even though you'll get a taste of the dark side in this book, it's not all horrific. In some of the darkest times of his life, Baublitz comes across people who radiate light. Selfless characters like Ms. Pat make appearances in the book, giving Baublitz a reason to continue on, a reason to be grateful. This book, laden with heartbreaking moments and suspenseful situations, proves that courage, love, and compassion can help someone overcome incredible difficulties.
Baublitz, despite his dark past and thanks to his determination (and some of the positive characters in the book) is intelligent and has dreams and goals. His chance meeting with a woman named Joanne changes his life forever and his dreams begin to become reality. No longer does he have to face the world alone; things seem to be in his favor—but life has a funny way of switching up on him and even with Joanne at his side, it seems that the hardships are never ending.
Richard Nixon, a character used by Baublitz throughout the book is like his "devil on the shoulder." It appears that Nixon is also a precursor of bad things to come. He taunts, berates, and urges Baublitz to continue down questionable paths—it's almost as though Nixon symbolizes an internal battle that the author is trying to overcome.
Dirty Laundry was a fantastic read, one that I didn't want to put down. It will open your eyes to the struggles of poverty and the failing system, but it's also so much more than that. Dirty Laundry tells the story of a man who fought against all odds, from the day of his birth, to beat the statistics. By the end of the book, Baublitz will have you in tears. I experienced a newfound gratitude for the hand that I was dealt. I realized just how important love truly is—how the smallest gestures out of love can make all the difference and possibly change a life.
This book is a must-read.