Kicking and Screaming

A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts

Non-Fiction - Memoir
280 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2022
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Author Biography

Melanie D. Gibson was raised in Snyder, Texas, where she began taekwondo training at age ten. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Texas Woman’s University, a Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. Melanie has worked in the healthcare industry since 2004, with roles as a hospital librarian, corporate trainer, and learning designer. Melanie continues to pursue advanced taekwondo black belt degrees and writes about taekwondo on her blog Little Black Belt ( She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Kicking and Screaming: A Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts is an autobiographical memoir relating the experiences of author Melanie D. Gibson with the Korean martial art of taekwondo that changed her life. Since her teenage years, Melanie suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression triggered by an eating disorder that also impacted her self-esteem. Despite growing up well-educated with a nice job and a condo of her own in Fort Worth, Texas, Melanie's mental illnesses follow her into adulthood. A string of failed romantic relationships only escalates the issues, leading her to become mildly addicted to Klonopin. In 2013, after suffering a mental breakdown, Melanie enrolls herself in her old Grandmaster's taekwondo school. She soon discovers that she has a healthy outlet to release her pent-up anxiety and rediscovers herself along the way.

An engrossing tale about facing your biggest challenges head-on and overcoming them against all odds, Kicking and Screaming perfectly showcases how martial arts or any sporting activity, in general, can bring stability to a person's life. Melanie D. Gibson's memoir is heartbreaking, funny, witty, and above all, thoroughly inspirational. Despite her struggles, while climbing through the ranks of belts, she sticks with it and incorporates taekwondo as a vital part of her life. It is a far healthier outlet from her refuge of earlier years, alcohol and pills. She also discovers that she didn't necessarily need to be in a relationship to live a fulfilling life. If you're feeling the need for some motivation, this is the perfect book for you.