Kicking Ass and Saving Souls by David Matthews
Stefan Templeton is a man who was born into two worlds. His mother, a beautiful open minded Norwegian flower child and his father, a no nonsense African American raised in the mean streets of Baltimore in the 1960's met at college, married and made Stefan in the usual way. After his parents split up shortly after his birth, Stefan's life became far from usual.
Splitting his childhood and teen years between his father in the Baltimore ghetto and his mother in various parts of Europe, Stefan became the sort of renaissance man you expect to read about only in fiction. On the one hand, he was a tough kid who sought out adventure, trouble and adrenaline and could hold his own due to extremely intense martial arts training, but on the other he was a philosophical spirit with a soft spot for the less fortunate, the ill, the weak who wanted to deliver not only justice on their behalves, but aid.
His life story, as told by his childhood best friend, reads like a mish-mash of crime novel, uplifting spiritual adventure, spy thriller and Robin Hood. Stefan Templeton has seen and done more in one lifetime then many of us could hope to do in several, he falls from grace but never gives up, determined to find redemption in his own way.
I will admit it took me longer than usual to get through this novel. Possibly it could have been due to it being a memoir, a genre which I typically don't read or it didn't inspire me in the same way that 'Eat, Pray, Love' failed to move me. I found it to be an interesting read, however, especially towards the second half when Stefan begins to seek out redemption and turns his life around. That being said, if you're someone who has rooted for the underdog or wants to find inspiration in a life story that is stranger than fiction, I'd recommend giving this honest and to the point memoir a shot.