A heart-rending but uplifting story of the human spirit's ability to prevail.
From the day he is five-years-old and dropped off at his foster home of the next eleven years, Stephen is mentally and physically tortured. No one in the system can help him. No one can tell him if he has a family. No one can tell him why, with obvious African-American features, he has the last name of Klakowicz.
Along the way, a single faint light comes only from a neighbor's small acts of kindness and caring-and a box of books. From one of those books he learns that he has to fight in any way he can-for victory is in the battle. His victory is to excel in school.
Against all odds, the author succeeded. He attended college, graduated, became a successful corporate executive, and married a wonderful woman with whom he established a loving family of his own. Through it, he dug voraciously through records and files and found his history, his birth family-and the ultimate disappointment as some family members embrace him, but others reject him.
Readers won't be the same after reading this powerful story. They will share in the hurts and despair but also in the triumph against daunting obstacles. They will share this story with their family, with their friends, with their neighbors.
"Pemberton's beautifully told story is a rags to riches journey--beginning in a place and with a jarring set of experiences that could have destroyed his life. But Steve's refusal to give in to those forces, and his resolve to create a better life, shows a courage and resilience that is an example for many of us to follow." --Stedman Graham, Author, Educator
Home is the place where our life stories begin. It is where we are understood, embraced, and accepted. It is a sanctuary of safety and security, a place to which we can always return. Down in the dank basement, amid my moldy, hoarded food and worm-eaten books, I dreamed that my real home, the place where my story had begun, was out there somewhere, and one day I was going to find it.
Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence. Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books given to him by a kind stranger. In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and begins to hope that one day he might have a different life--that one day he will find his true home. A fair-complexioned boy with blue eyes, a curly Afro, and a Polish last name, he is determined to unravel the mystery of his origins and find his birth family. Armed with just a single clue, Steve embarks on an extraordinary quest for his identity, only to learn that nothing is as it appears. "A Chance in the World" is the unbelievably true story of a wounded and broken boy destined to become a man of resilience, determination, and vision. Through it all, Steve's story teaches us that no matter how broken our past, no matter how great our misfortunes, we have it in us to create a new beginning and to build a place where love awaits.
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