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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
A Determined Spirit is the story of a high school dropout who struggled with financial issues and loss at a young age and went on to build a successful life. Gary F Heuer's early years included experiencing the death of his brother and father (who had no life insurance), growing up with little financial support, having to work laborious jobs and live in a motel to attend high school, and traveling back alone to the United States at 16 after having to live in Germany with his mother at 15. Fortunately, all these challenges did not stop Gary from succeeding and living a life worth sharing with others through an inspirational/against-all-odds story that shows the author's struggles with several challenges: marriage and divorce, serving in the army, loss of family members, witnessing his sister's cancer battle, and more.
Though generally a feel-good read, A Determined Spirit contains several touching stories of struggle and pain at different stages of life. Gary's tenacious spirit—which carries him through different challenges in his marriages, his careers, and the army—motivated me to keep going no matter what challenges I face. The book also reveals some of the emotional issues that sometimes come with being in the army, including having suicidal thoughts. Some important historical events are seen from the author's perspective, including the Cold War and the Gulf War. Gary F Heuer's story perfectly fits the proverbial phrase: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Written in straightforward, easy-to-comprehend language, A Determined Spirit is a great read that is remarkably hard to put down.