Hindsight

Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood

Non-Fiction - Memoir
388 Pages
Reviewed on 09/24/2019
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Author Biography

Sheryl Recinos is a physician, author, mother, and volunteer in her local community and abroad. She is active in the medical community and advocates for people and patients experiencing homelessness. She is also the author of a middle school fiction series for kids who have gone through traumatic experiences, called the Resilience Group.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood is a non-fiction memoir penned by author Sheryl Recinos, who made the journey from being a homeless teenager to becoming an MD. Beginning with her life in a dysfunctional family unit, we go with Sheryl through her recollections of being placed in the foster care system, the effect that the system had on her, and onto her eventual move to living on the streets of Hollywood. Here, the tale takes an even more savage turn into the dark world of survival for those who are a prime target for predators. But through it all, Sheryl’s resilience and instincts help her not only to survive but to thrive and build a new life for herself in the future.

There are many instances of quite terrifying events throughout the earlier portions of this book, and author Sheryl Recinos does a great job at relaying them without graphic detail, but they may still be too disturbing for some readers. That said, her journey is an incredible one against the odds of what life threw at her at such a young age, and the chronology and pacing of her personal storytelling through the highs and the lows was very compelling to read. Recinos is unafraid to be honest in her feelings about the foster system, her own reactions as a young person, and the realities and difficulties of her life, which makes it all the more inspiring to see how she turned it around. Hindsight is an excellent work, certain to inspire others in the same way.

Divine Zape

Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood by Sheryl Recinos, MD, is a memoir that chronicles the author’s life growing up through foster care, detention, and the streets of Hollywood. Sheryl's story begins in March 1988 when her mother wakes her up in the middle of the night with the words: "We have to leave." She says there was something primal about her mother's voice and that was to change her life forever. Her dysfunctional upbringing put her through a life of hardship. As Sheryl Recinos narrates her experiences living on the streets, she gives insights into what homelessness can do to teenagers, sharing her struggles, her experiences with predators that target street kids. The narrative follows her journey to the point of becoming a homeless pregnant teen and how she found hope and got off the streets.

Poignant and filled with a realistic sense of grit, Hindsight is a real-life story that looks at the other side of life, at what happens in the streets, right under the noses of people who enjoy the comforts of home. Sheryl Recinos writes in a voice that is both strong and compassionate, filling the story with insights and sharing her life in a tone that is ruthlessly honest. As I read this memoir from page to page, I rooted for the author and reflected on my own story. Hindsight is a story of resilience and courage and of a young teen who wouldn’t give up on herself in a world that felt strange and cruel at the same time. The prose is tight and the conflict well-developed against the backdrop of a Hollywood that is not only disenchanting but frightening. Inspiring and enjoyable.

Christian Sia

Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood by Sheryl Recinos is a memoir that captures the author's coming-of-age story through her dysfunctional upbringing, living on the streets of Hollywood, getting pregnant and being homeless to becoming an emotionally balanced and successful physician. In this narrative, the author shares her painful experience as a teen, from the moment she and her brother leave home together with her mom to finding themselves in uncharted territory without their mom and the hardships of living off the streets.

The story is told with utter honesty and from the beginning, the reader understands the confusion as young Sheryl tries to understand why her mother has to get them away from their dad. The tension grows quickly when their mom is taken away from them in very unclear circumstances. I wanted to know what would become of Sheryl and her brother from the moment they found themselves in what she calls “a place that did not have two parents.” The writing is fluid and the narrative is interesting from the perspective of the author, allowing readers insights into her thoughts. The emotions are captured with clarity, and at times one really feels the precision in the way she describes details about her life.

Sheryl offers realistic glimpses of what life in the streets is like, and the contrast between the glitz of Hollywood and the low-life witnessed in the streets is poignant. Hindsight: Coming of Age on the Streets of Hollywood is a story of hope, one that teaches readers that they can change their stars by having a clear perspective for their life and working hard to get to where they want to be. I found it to be very inspiring and uplifting.