Skin in the Game

The Stories My Tattoos Tell

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
180 Pages
Reviewed on 05/05/2019
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Author Biography

Kelly Mendenhall is recovering nonprofit professional living in Middle Tennessee. A Southeast Michigan native, Kelly received her Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s in Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University, determined to change the world for the better by working in the nonprofit sector.

Kelly relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 2013 in pursuit of life, liberty, and gainful employment. In 2017, Kelly became medically disabled and unable to work outside the home. It was then that she became reacquainted with her former, creative self, and dreamt again of becoming a published writer.

Kelly is a Spoonie, author, Podcast co-host, entrepreneur, and self- care advocate living with chronic pain and invisible illness(es.) Her mission is to show the world that a medical diagnosis/diagnoses do not have to mark the end of one’s story.

Kelly is a freelance writer, a virtual entrepreneur in network marketing, and co-host of the podcast A Non Mom Happy Hour.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Skin in the Game: The Stories My Tattoos Tell by Kelly J. Mendenhall is a book about survival, the human connection, regrettable steps, and a journey towards self-acceptance, healing, and triumph. What strikes the reader as they start reading this memoir is the author’s love for tattoos and it is also interesting that each tattoo captures some fragment of her history. She writes: “I’m 36 as I write this and still haven’t grown out of wanting tattoos. Much to my mother’s chagrin, this is not a phase. I still love almost every piece as much as I did the day I had it done.” Her eclectic collection of tattoos is a representation of the events of her life which are captured in this memoir — losing her father as a young girl, experiencing sexual and physical abuse as a teenager, the loss of her friends, and many other events. Follow the author through the numerous challenges of her life, both physical and moral, and how at thirty-five she suffered a tragedy that compelled her to reinvent herself, a journey both painful and inspiring.

Kelly J. Mendenhall writes with grace and simplicity and in a voice that is clear, at times opinionated, yet gripping. She looks at her life with honesty, stripping it bare to let readers see her pain, her wounds, her insecurities, and her fears. The reader follows a young woman through her growth under very complex and challenging circumstances. Skin in the Game: The Stories My Tattoos Tell is punctuated by images of the tattoos on the author’s body. The narrative is filled with art and symbolism, done in a gripping voice, and communicating a powerful message of hope and resilience to readers. In reading Kelly’s story, readers will be provoked to ask questions about how well they take control of their destiny.