“Ultimately, their is no good that comes out of evil. Only evil comes of evil, no matter how much good might seem to result from it.”
I just wanted to preface my review by saying that when deciding on a book to read I take the responsibility of the selection as well as the review itself seriously and my intention is to be interested and entertained by the subject matter. I am not into wasting anyone’s time whether it be the author who took the time to expose a piece of themselves to the world, the publisher for investing time and money on a story they felt was worth reading, or my own for that matter. You will not find my name under the umbrella of paranormal romance, erotic thrillers, albeit their is a morsel of interest;) and my interest in science fiction requires a certain something for me to throw my hat in the ring. For True North I had a legitimate interest from reading the synopsis, but after completing the novel I feel that I was somewhat misled.
One could imagine that growing up in a house with twenty children you would be able to endlessly discuss many events that were experienced and merited a retelling for an amused audience. This book is marketed as the shocking truth about “Yours, Mine, and Ours” an inspirational story of survival and hope. In reality this should have been marketed as “how I lived through hell until I was thirteen, spent as much time away from my parents until I was eighteen, and moved out and never looked back leaving my brothers and sisters to fend for themselves.” In totality the whole elements of the family constitute about one-third of the book’s substance. The other two-thirds discuss how Tom abused drugs, worked odd-jobs, was a womanizer, had a coming-to-god moment, used ocean-therapy for help with drugs, and sought spiritual awakening through transcendental meditation. His teenage years were reminiscent of that, of a teenager. The main factor that differentiates him from the rest of the world is not mentioned nearly enough for my liking.
“A mathematician friend calculated that if the North-Beardsley offspring would propagate at the rate of the parents, by the year 2100, every fourth person on the planet would be descended from them!” *This statement reminded me of the movie Idiocracy minus the wanton Idiocracy.
With the North children representing a true power in numbers situation, to see it end the way it did with no justice for Frank Beardsley was unfortunate and maddening for me. I was happy to hear of Helen’s epiphany later in life, I wish it would have came sooner but as the old saying goes; better late than never. With the complex family dynamics the possibilities seemed endless to discuss about the fundamental differences within the North-Beardsley household. All I can really take away is that birthdays seemed to be forgotten (which is heartbreaking) and that they received fifty pound jars of peanut butter (which is a dream for a connoisseur like me) and they could field two baseball teams complete with umpires. From my perspective after reading the book, my impression was that Tom made this more about himself and less about what truly made the story conversational, his family. Frank Beardsley often mentioned to Tommy that “you are nothing without the other nineteen,” and for individual growth and one’s own identity he is dead wrong. However; for the sake of the book I believe he is right. Being Twin A to my brother’s Twin B I understand the difficulties associated with establishing one’s own identity. Throughout my early childhood I was referred to as Trevor or Travis I grew accustomed to answering to both, despite my best efforts in correcting people it eventually became a lost cause. The crazy thing is that we’re bloody fraternal twins for Christ’s sake. One blonde hair, one brown hair, one thin, one big, one taller, one shorter, one freckles and the other none, what could be that confusing? It wasn’t until we were split up early in elementary school that we started developing our own identity and had the opportunity to become our true selves. In respects to the book with more of a collaborative effort, specifically within the North family, I believe their would have been more focus on expressing the feelings of the collective rather than simply one man’s search for a spiritual awakening.
“Nature is creative and destructive, kind and cruel.”
The public image of the Beardsley family became the be all and end all for Helen and her life’s singular goal. From my reading the big turning point in this book and the North children’s early childhood was the inability for them to grieve the death of their father. Soon after the death, the family moves away from their idyllic and lively country home in Oak Harbour, Washington to the rampant and “dead” city living of San Leandro, California. Forget about the culture shock involved with this type lifestyle change, it was two months since the day of their patriarchs death and during the delivery of the eighth and final North child, the mother Helen North almost died due to excessive blood loss during pregnancy. With all these traumatic events I believe that a proper grieving period would have been beneficial for the family as a whole in dealing with what the future brought. Think of it as a potential life-altering event like when Tom brought Nick scuba diving which from that point changed the course of Nick’s life. If Helen and the children participate in some grief counselling rather than being short-sighted and jumping to a marriage, perhaps a better man or more clear judgment comes to fruition.
“Someone once said that children’s minds are like wet concrete- everything that there leaves a permanent impression.”
I would recommend this book to anyone that would like to better understand the benefits of meditation and stimulating your inner spirituality. If you are looking at further strengthening your inner being this book provides many resources for your utilization and progression to enlightenment. In my mind I was hoping for more to dirt to balance out the spiritual cleansing that I received, not what I would’ve anticipated when reading a biography of this magnitude.