Book Review of “Pushing Through: The Transformation of A Shattered Soul” by Lori Yerxa

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Author: Lori Yerxa

Length: 337 pages

Genre: Olympics & Paralympics, Conduct of Life & Spirituality, Cycling

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Synopsis: When Rex’s father gave him a shot of whiskey to numb a toothache, the young boy had no idea the trajectory of his life became even darker. Years later, hopeless and alone, Rex was faced with the choice to continue and die or change and live.

This raw and gritty page-turner follows the life of Paralympic champion Rex Patrick, who endures unthinkable and horrific tragedies. Deep in his addiction, and nowhere to turn, Rex spends his days homeless, hobbling around on crutches, in a park with no trees. One day a police officer pours out Rex’s “wino” wine and he finally hits rock bottom. Hopeless, Rex tries sobriety one more time.

This captivating story takes you on a journey of adventure, courage, and insight into the power of new beliefs, and what happens when you stop listening.

Pushing Through is relatable to anyone striving for purpose.

Warning: This Review Has Spoilers and a Trigger Warning for substance abuse

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for free by the author to review. Receiving the book for free has not influenced my review and this review is my personal opinion.

THE REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lori Yerxa is the stepsister of Rex, the main character of this tale inspired by a true story. I learned about “Pushing Through” from her when we exchanged our books to review.  My knowing Lori did not influence the review of this book which is my genuine opinion.

“Pushing Through” Tells the story of Rex Patrick, a Paralympic champion bicyclist. Rex was the child of an abusive alcoholic and became an alcoholic and drug addict for much of his life starting at a very young age. His addiction led to him losing one of his legs and years afterward, when he finally decided to go sober, Rex used competitive bicycling with his one good leg as a form of crutch to keep himself sober. After leaving competitive cycling, he ends up relapsing and eventually dying from his drug use.

Rex’s story is important because it is a cautionary tale of how parents can totally mess their kids up before the child even has a chance at life. Despite the odds against him and his poor life choices, Rex stumbled into a support ground that was able to help him become a successful competitive racer. During his sober period he was surrounded by people who loved him and showered him with support to get sober, stay sober, and set the records and win the medals he won. In the end, this isn’t enough to keep him sober and he ends up drinking and using again.

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This was a hard story to read. When I read books I do so to remove myself from reality. I like fantasy that bears no resemblance to the troubles of this world and reading this book was not a fun escape from reality. It was triggering and may be triggering for anyone who has had negative experiences with individuals who are substance abusers. From the beatings and abuse Rex suffers, to his rape by a stranger as a child, to watching him continually fucking up most every chance he has, this was not a peasant escape from reality kind of read though there are some really good points to the main character’s life.

I did enjoy reading about the Paralympics. The parts of the book where Rex is sober, he’s got some interesting things going on. He travels the world and lives an almost fairytale dreamlife during the years that he is competing. Sponsors, trips, medals, and world records are the result of his hard word. And for a while, I thought this book was going to have a happy ended when he married his wife Sara.

But Rex is only briefly married to a wonderful woman named Sara. She’s smart, funny, beautiful, and barely features in the story of his life. Maybe because they were only married a few years.  The consequences of Rex’s addiction push her away from him.

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I’m not going to lie. I DISLIKE Rex immensely. I dislike his selfishness, his pettiness, his problems with authority.  I.  Dislike.  Rex.  Even when he’s sober, he pisses me off.  Why?  Because his personality flaws and his addiction is his entire personality.  When he gets sober, the 12 steps are his entire personality with a highly competitive portion sectioned off for his riding. Since Rex used his competitive racing as a means to channel his addictive urges and his emotions, he basically used his success in races as a meter to see how well he was staying sober. (The following is my interpretation of the man.) Like, it seems as if he didn’t feel that he was trying hard enough to be sober if he wasn’t winning medals. And when he lost, he would get angry at himself for not wanting enough to continue staying sober.

With all that being said, the book is a cautionary tale based on a true story. Lori is merely presenting facts and memoirs of another person’s life. As a biography, “Pushing Through” is not the kind of book a reader falls into (at least not this reader), that is the nature of biographies. But Rex Patrick is an important part of the history of the Paralympics, competitive bicycling, and disability awareness. The reader wants to cheer him on so that he can conquer his demons and live happily ever after. And for a short while, it seemed he had.

I’m rating “Pushing Through” 4 out of 5 stars. For anyone who wants to learn about Rex Patick’s life, this is the biography to read, written by a family member.

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