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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
A long way from home and in the deep, muddy waters of disappointment, James Gardiner questioned the choices that led to his quest for superstardom and the extravagant lifestyle of famous Hollywood stars. Meanwhile, his friends were building their finances and families, and what he had to show for his efforts was relatively mediocre. All In With Love: My Journey to the Hero Within is the story of a man whose connection to himself, his soul, and his true needs were drowned by his addiction to the cheers of the crowd and his burning desire to act his way to fame in Hollywood. At different points in his career, James was forced to choose between accepting embarrassing roles and maintaining his dignity. He eventually built another life for himself outside acting - one that involved starting a family, winning medals at rowing, and managing restaurants.
I fell in love with James Gardiner's utterly beautiful and alluringly poetic memoir from the very beginning, and to my surprise, it got better with every page. As someone who realized that the cost of being a celebrity musician was too great after testing the waters, I identified deeply with James's initial strong desire for fame and his subsequent sense of appreciation for the simple things. Every story in All In With Love is adorned with a most engrossing discussion about the key themes, which adds to the wonderful experience of the book. Gardiner spins a courageously sincere and deeply moving story that anyone who knows what it's like to experience having a burning desire, fatherhood, infidelity, depression, and divorce will relate to it. It's an unforgettable story about finding one's way from the darkest parts of the tunnel and discovering the true power of love and family.