Hurled Through Havoc

Non-Fiction - Memoir
261 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Speedy Hurled Through Havoc by Dave Letterfly Knoderer is a poignant, slice-of-life memoir that will entertain and inspire you. Set against the backdrop of circus life and love for the road, the author tells a collection of stories: his father Billy's and his own. Readers who are unfamiliar with the world of the circus, clowns, trapeze acts, and life on the road will be educated, engaged, and inspired as Dave takes you by the hand and leads you into these areas. It's almost like opening a secret curtain on a magician's stage and seeing how it works. But this is far from just a life story of a circus performer. It's more about an artist at heart who tried to stay true to his nature and had some ups and downs along life's highway.

Knoderer allows you to get close to him in these stories, and you may discover more about yourself or others you know who have taken a more non-traditional approach to life. If you're fond of animals, you'll love his connection with horses and other animals. You may connect with his experiences as a teenager, as he honestly describes his imperfect relationship with his father. His writing is insightful and immersive, and his attention to detail and description makes for a highly entertaining and introspective read. If you're an artist, you'll connect with Dave on this level. If you're a free spirit that obeys the call of adventure, you'll connect on that level. And if you've ever struggled with alcohol or know someone who has, you will appreciate his openness.

You could also call these stories YA or coming-of-age because they deal with teenage angst and first-time situations. I like how Dave explains that the people he met along the way helped shape who he became and that his running away from home turned out to be a pivotal event in his life. The stories are intriguing, and the messages have weight and meaning. His philosophy is appealing. For a life story that rises high above the average memoir and offers light and guidance, Speedy Hurled Through Havoc by Dave Letterfly Knoderer is a must-read.

Romuald Dzemo

Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc - Tales of a Traveling Airbrush by Dave Letterfly Knoderer begins with the words: “The Road is a metaphor for life,” and explores that metaphor as it takes form and root in the life of the author. We discover a young man forced to take to the road by a dysfunctional family and a father with whom he never felt a strong connection. Traveling with a big top circus, the author became an entertainer. He honed his skills as a painter, producing some of the fascinating airbrushed murals and golf leaf monograms that delighted viewers. But life wasn’t all that easy when he hit rock bottom as an alcoholic. How he pulled himself out of that miserable situation offers lessons to readers in an adventure on the road that transformed him, healed him, and allowed him to redefine his purpose and find meaning.

This memoir is beautifully written, filled with insights about life, art, friendship, love, and adventure. The road becomes a symbolic component in the author’s life and is open to multiple interpretations. By hitting the physical road, Dave Letterfly Knoderer makes a journey that is spiritual, taking him toward the very center of his being. I enjoyed the way the author writes about family dynamics and his relationship with his father. His companions on the road and the delight of sharing his artistic gifts are elements that unveil his humanity. Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc is a wonderful story, told in a captivating voice and stocked with lessons that are relevant to readers of different ages. You will be forced to reflect on your own journey, on how you handle change and addiction, and on the meaning of life as you read through this gripping memoir.

K.C. Finn

Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and autobiographical sub-genres, and was penned by author Dave Letterfly Knoderer. The work is suitable for the general reading audience and contains no graphic content or explicit language. In this inspiring tale of ups and downs in a very unusual life, we meet the young Dave during a strict upbringing where his creativity was subdued. As he hits the road with a big top circus, Dave can finally let his artistic talents shine, but life has other ugly surprises in store. What results is a fantastic journey through the highs and lows of a life lived mostly on the road.

Author Dave Letterfly Knoderer brings all the panache and showmanship of his circus background to the writing in Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc, delivering an original memoir that is well worth a read, whatever walk of life you come from. I personally related a lot to Dave’s experience with alcoholism and alcohol reliance: the emotion expressed when frankly discussing this issue was raw, unfiltered, and highly relatable to those who have also lived it. The organization of the work also takes you through separate incidents which smoothly connect over their wider themes, which results in a really satisfying feeling by the time you reach the end of Dave’s amazing journey to see where he is now and how much it took to get there. Overall, I would highly recommend Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc for memoir fans everywhere seeking their next accomplished and heartfelt read.

Vincent Dublado

Speedy Hurled Through Havoc by Dave Letterfly Knoderer takes the metaphor of the road as life to offer a deeply personal story that chronicles one man’s discovery of what it takes to follow one’s passion. It takes youthful rebellion with a reasonable cause and channels it into a life story filled with painful and sweet lessons. Since childhood, the author, in his mind, had always regarded his father as a hero, and they find common ground in their appreciation for the circus and nature. But his father, who operates in the real world, has flaws that do not fully live up to his visions of a paternal hero. The solution is to run away and join a magical world that he has long been fascinated with. As a teen, Dave joins the circus, leading him on a path of adventure, self-discovery, and growth. It didn’t take long for him to find painting as his next obsession. He is bound to learn many things—including the painful lesson of spiraling into hopelessness as a result of alcoholism.

The first-person POV always works in memoirs and autobiographies, but Dave Letterfly Knoderer effectively shifts from first-person and omniscient POV (when necessary) in order to eliminate limitations in perspectives. To me, it feels like a rough-cut story that depends largely on narration rather than dialogue. However, the chronology of events leading to Knoderer’s formation as a person made wiser by life lessons on the road gives concreteness to his accounts and brings everything together in cohesive prose. Speedy Hurled Through Havoc is an intelligent memoir, one where you encounter generous words of wisdom and a grateful voice for those who have been instrumental in touching the author’s hand and heart. For anyone who loves to read passionate memoirs, this book is for you.

Rabia Tanveer

Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc by Dave Letterfly Knoderer is the author’s story of when he left everything behind in pursuit of passion and dreams. Not many dare to chase after their dreams and passion, but this author did. Dave grew up in a normal family with not much, but enough to live a satisfying life. However, he always craved more. From a very early age, Dave was obsessed with circus and art and he developed a passion for art early on. So, with the help of the most important people in his life, Dave packed his bags and started his journey toward his dreams. Becoming a successful artist was no joke, and Dave faced some immense challenges that almost broke him at some points in his life. However, he powered through them to reach his dream and be proud of himself.

The whole focus of this book was on the pursuit of passion. While chasing happiness, finding family, love, and facing hardships are an all-important part of our lives, it would be for nothing if we didn’t have a goal. Dave Letterfly Knoderer had that goal, and he went after it with single-mindedness. The narrative was simple and easy to follow, maybe because the author had a similar approach to life. However, don’t take the simplicity of the narrative as the only selling point of this book. The author taught some valuable life lessons with his simple yet very encouraging story. It takes a lot of courage to leave comfort and safety behind, but it takes even more courage to keep following a dream when you don’t even have enough money to live on. The first-person narrative style made the story personal. It felt like I was listening to the author talk about his life. Encouraging and uplifting, Speedy: Hurled Through Havoc would be a great book to share with people who feel unsure of their future and need a little help to keep their chin up.