The Tank Man’s Son by Mark Bouman

Book description:

In the tradition of The Glass Castle and Angela’s Ashes comes the most unforgettable memoir you’ll read this year!

What did it mean to be the Tank Man’s son? To grow up overwhelmed by my father’s presence and personality? It was as if I didn’t exist, as if I was just something else for my father to crush.”

So begins the haunting memoir of Mark Bouman as he recounts the events of his childhood at the hands of his larger-than-life, Neo-Nazi father in brilliant, startling detail. From adventure-filled days complete with real-life war games, artillery fire, and tank races to terror-filled nights marked by vicious tirades, brutal beatings, and psychological torture, Mark paints a chilling portrait of family life that is at once whimsical and horrific—all building to a shocking climax that challenges even the broadest boundaries of love and forgiveness.

An epic tale of redemption and reconciliation, The Tank Man’s Son is a literary tour de force that is sure to become an instant classic.

My review:

This book was very hard to read at times.  Bouman’s accounts of abuse at the hands of his father is disturbing and sickening.  It is strange that a book that depicts such abuse could also have the power to make me laugh out loud, but this one does.  The tale of the tree stump and the dynamite made me laugh harder than I have in a long time while reading a book.  Although I enjoyed the laughter, there were far more times when I gasped out loud, knowing that a child’s mistake was going to result in abuse, like the hole in the swimming pool.

What I found most insightful about this book is Bouman’s feelings while he was attending college.  I never realized the way that a childhood filled with abuse continues to affect the survivors throughout the rest of their lives in such a strong way.  It was really heartbreaking.

The ending of the book was so much better than anything I could have imagined.  Forgiveness is probably the thing I struggle with the most and the lesson of forgiveness in this book is just so powerful.

This is an amazing, amazing book.  It is non-fiction that reads like fiction.  It has been a long time since I read a book and wished my mom was still alive just so she could read the book, but this one had the effect on me.  I know she would have loved this one.  If you love a great story of redemption and restoration, you will love this one, too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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