“Memoirs of a Runaway: A Story of Hope” is a tale of survival and spirituality. Isolation and reconnection. Most of all, it is a hand reaching out to those who travel down the same troubled path; a story of hope.
The first books I sent out were to friends and family and to the young lady that inspired me to write ‘Memoirs…’ The reviews have been better than I expected.
Several comments about the book, even from the publisher, said ‘It hooked me right from the start’ and ‘I could hardly put it down’.
My daughter thought it was ‘tastefully written and truthful’ and said ‘this is a good thing you’ve done’.
The book was actually available for print before I even got my 1st ‘offical’ copy. The publisher said once I order my ‘author’s copies’ I ‘uneqivocally’ accept this book as is for final print, so my mother and brother’s books were actually ordered and received thru Barnes and Noble and or Amazon.com before mine came (their reviews are below).
Here’s another review… ‘This story was inspired by someone I know very closely… my daughter. She is not named, but her story is described on the back cover. My daughter just received a copy of the book yesterday with a personal inscription from the author. She’s highly impressed with the book and pleased that she has inspired someone to do something like write a book. It has made her realize how special she is to the world. I’m very thankful that she is no longer that 13 year old described. It’s been a long road. Please share this with others. It may help someone see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that it’s not a freight train.’ –With Gratitude, Stephanie
(More below, after reviews!)
Reviews below are mainly from customers of Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com…
***** Stars !! “I loved it…It HELD my interest! The ending and nearing the end of the book was especially great. I think your book will inspire many kids/adults that are runaways or having rough times in their own lives.” –Janice Lansel
***** “I’m almost done with the book. I’ve gotten to the last chapter now and i don’t want it to end ! I just really like this book and the character so much. And I read a lot of books !” –Sandra Ruemker
***** “Wow! You certainly have quite a story to share. You have been through so much. Where some people might have given up you persevered and have done so much. Your work demonstrates strong writing with a nice flow; your narrative voice is fantastic. You really have done a nice job discussing this subject. Your book is nicely put together; books like yours provide insight for many. I liked the way you chose to set up your text. It hooked me right from the start…the baseball story is truly amazing.” –Jennifer Rush
***** A Real Page Turner Ashley, an English Teacher, 04/28/2008 Oh My Goodness. This real-life experience has kept me on my toes for a couple of hours. I could not put this book down. The first couple of chapters provide the background of what was about to happen. It had a few more chapters after to reveal the decisions that Michael went through that was made in part of a fight or flight situation. This is a definite page turner. There are so many themes and life long lessons that one can learn from this novel. All you can think of, as you watch Michael go through his hard life decisions, is if he is going to get out okay. I would recommend this novel to anyone and absolutely everyone who loves to read. I especially hope that people who went through the hard times, like the author, would read this book. It’s sadly amazing to know how many runaways there are in the United States. All you can think of is ‘What brought them there?’ So, please read and learn.
***** I thoroughly enjoyed Mike’s journey in this book. A reviewer, L.Sherron, Pittsburgh, PA, 04/23/2008 It may take time, but it really makes you understand that God is in all of us. He will strengthen our hearts and give us the determination to move through this thing called life… Anyway, the book was well written and I truly enjoyed it. Good job!!!!!
***** Important Message to All A reviewer, a horse lover…., 03/27/2008 I think this book is incredible! It truly sends an important message to all families on how love & loving guidance can shape our children’s attitudes now & in their future. I think it will inspire hope in any young struggling person & make any parent realize the importance of proper loving guidance. Love is the key. When love is given to any child especially a troubled child they can truly realize their own self worth & become the successful person they are meant to be. Also recommended: Short Stories from South Beach
***** Truly a story of hope!! Sue, A reviewer, 03/24/2008 Mike has had an amazing life. And through it all he’s remained forgiving and loving! Things could have turned out much differently but I know that he was being led through the hard times so he could bring some peace to someone else. This book is great for any age. If you are going through any kind of struggle in your life, let Mike’s life give you hope too! You wont want to put this book down until you know how things turn out! You wont be disappointed in the ending! You will be encouraged and inspired !!
***** An encouraging page turner, April 2, 2008 By D. Phillips “Book Fanatic” (Norfolk,VA) This is a book that every person can relate to in one way or another, since we all face trials. This is also a book we can all LEARN from. “Memoirs of a Runaway” gives the reader the rare opportunity to experience the most intimate thoughts,feelings, and life situations of a teenager. I felt like I was on a journey with Mike, quickly flipping the pages to see what happened next. This book made me cry,laugh,smile,shake my head in amazement,and thank God for the ending. This book is a book of hope,faith,and encouragement. I commend it to anyone that is struggling on this journey of life,especially teens. We all know a teenager that is going down the wrong path…do them a favor love them unconditionally,lead by example, and buy them a copy of this book.
May, 2008… A gentleman was walking into a restaurant with me who I had just previously met and had sold him a book. He said, ‘I read your book.’ ‘Oh, yea,’ I replied, ‘so, what did you think?’ ‘Well, first, my wife walked in and said ‘you’re reading?’ Cause I hardly ever read… But, I could not put it down. I read the whole thing that night. I thought it was really good.’
***** I LOVE THIS BOOK! Hi, my name is Mark, Mike’s brother. I used to joke with Mike when he started to tell his story saying something like “here we go again” with a eye role and a smile. Not only did he have a desire to share his story but I never knew so much of what he went through. I was young and he was often gone. It was a realization for me and as hard as some of it was to hear, if this can reach/save even one person it is worth it. I like that Mike is fully open and honest. I am very proud of his courage for writing this book. It takes a chance to be so vulnerable and share that much of your life. I know Mike’s intentions for writing this book and it’s his desire to reach out and help others through his own trials and tribulations that I’m so proud of. Even if I wasn’t his brother, Mike is a man of character and integrity I would want to know. He has inspired me to think about writing a book myself. I only hope that this book will reach those in need of it. For those who feel like they are lost and need of hope. Although we all have our own unique trials and tribulations, the cure is the same and hope that Mike’s book will help lead you to that cure.
***** Book Review, May 5, 2008 By Janice “Jan” (Crystal Lake, IL) I hadn’t planned to reveal that the author of Memoirs of a Runaway, Michael Kennon is my son. As his mother it’s a challenging book to review because of my bias and it was difficult to read about all his struggles. I’m proud that he could write a book, even more appreciate his life and what he has become. His intent is to help other runaways and give them hope. I see it from a mother’s standpoint. If a parent has a basically good adolescent, and continues to forgive and not give up, she just might be rewarded with a loving. spiritual, successful, healthy, wonderful adult. It’s all in the book.
***** Author Michael Kennon’s time as a teenage runaway, and his interview with a thirteen year old girl , June 8, 2008 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) What makes a child flee home and opt to live on the streets in a state of homelessness? “Memoirs of a Runaway: A Story of Hope” is a combination of two true stories, author Michael Kennon’s time as a teenage runaway, and his interview with a thirteen year old girl who has followed down a similar path filled with sex, drugs, and violence. Although downtrodden in theme, the book lives up to its subtitle and offers some hope that there is light at the end of the darkest of tunnels. “Memoirs of a Runaway: A Story of Hope” is a deftly compiled and highly recommended set of stories, a top pick for community library memoir shelves and for any who want to empathize with this tortured souls.
***** By Donny K. Author and Teacher, Retired. July 9th, 2008 Memoirs of a Runaway certainly kicked my life up north ! Sharing your personality made a difference in my life (strengthening my relationship with God). What an account of how God works in a man’s life ! During the time I read Memoirs I experienced the feeling of inspiration, at times sadness, happiness, joy, hope, but most of all LOVE. Intense as your writing is, the simplicity & truth of your expressions make a difference for those who read.
**** Overcoming Struggle by ElizabethPou December 31, 2008: This is a true story about a man name Michael who had problems at home and kept running away from home. Michael was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and was on Ritalin. He was a very hyper kid and had a lot of energy. When Michael was 10 years old his father died and it was hard for Michael to deal with losing his father. Michael’s mother eventually remarries a guy name Don. Don appears to be a nice guy and the family was happy for a while. Don begins to emotionally and physically abuse Michael. This leads to Michael getting involved with drugs, the wrong crowds and sex. Ultimately, Michael takes to the road so he doesn?t have to deal with the problems at home. The great thing is that Michael learns from his mistakes and reaches out to other runaways. This is one those books that make you wonder why bad things happen to some people.
January 3rd, 2009 — Out of Darkness, Runaway Finds Hope and a New Life
A lot of kids run away from home, or threaten to run away, but few encounter the wide range of adventures and misadventures experienced by Michael Kennon, author of “Memoirs of a Runaway: A Story of Hope.”
Kennon ran away from home in his early teens and hitchhiked across America in search of friends, comfort, security, and love. Unsuccessful in finding lasting friends, security or acceptance, Kennon turned to drugs, alcohol and sex and found himself living a troubled existence on the dark side of life. As a youth, the author faced many harrowing experiences and escapes from death while on the road or in drug dens.
Kennon had a wonderful father who died far too young. For awhile Michael and his stepfather got alone fine but then friction developed and grew to the point where physical abuse resulted. His home life deteriorated to the point where Michael reached this conclusion, “It became clear by my 13th birthday that I was never going to be loved by this man, was never going to be hugged by him, and he had no intention of bonding with me. I was beginning to feel completely inferior to Don.”
Once Michael hit the road he learned how to survive by approaching churches to ask for money, food vouchers or gas vouchers and to spend nights in homeless shelters. Kennon also had a knack for latching on to strangers and living with them for periods of time, arrangements that led to heavy involvement in drugs, booze and sex.
Eventually Kennon reached the end of the road and turned back to his childhood faith to seek God and be spiritually rescued. His return to God was prompted by a loving grandmother, Grandma Dolly, who always loved him unconditionally and stood by him when others appeared to have given up.
Kennon found a church to attend that helped him grow in faith and put his life back together. He now owns a successful trucking company and with the help of church, wife, daughter, and friends has turned his life completely around. This is the story of hope that emerges from the dark and sometimes scary pages of “Memoirs of a Runaway.”
The author summarizes his story of hope with these words, “This story is not over, it’s only beginning. I am no longer running away from something. I’m running to it. I am not lost, I am found. And with God’s will, I will continue to enjoy the life He intended for me. I now realize that it is faith that gets us through, and His grace that shows us the way. I believe God gave us free will and that whatever we run away from will only find us and become a part of us. It’s all about the journey—how to accept it and the choices we make. I truly believe that nothing is impossible with God and choose to run to Him.”
By Emory Daniels
January 3rd, 2009– Just finished your book. Great read! Didn’t put it down except to answer the phone once. There is a great message here for young and old alike. Jerry C.
June 2nd, 2009 – GREAT BOOK! I would recommend it to anyone. Wanna good book you need to get it and read it! –Emily
October 4th — Janiece–ya’ll need to get this book, awesome, read it one day!
Tues, October 27th– Phyllis – ‘just finished the book. awesome. what a testimony u r to the Glory of our wonderful Jesus!!!!! Thanks for sharing I am passing it on.’
March 31st, 2010 ‘I finished the book. WOW! Mike, it’s amazing! It’s hard to believe that those things even happened to you. Anyway….very good! VERY GOOD! I gave the one book to my friend who has a daughter who is struggling. I will be sure to share my excitement about the book w/ other friends.’ –Krissy
September 24th, 2010–‘Just got both books. I read Memoirs in just under 3 hours and loved it. I read most of the allergy book last night and learned alot. I will try the recipes — they look very easy and delicious. There is hope for me yet. Thanks for sharing your story.’–Amy
December 30th, 2010—‘Memoirs of a RunAway is an absolute true to life account of a dreamer that I totally admire.To live out the pages of this book is truly remarkarkable and I think it qualifies as a guide to help teens and parents to cope with issues they may face..This is a book that from cover to cover was difficult to put down..Page after Page of adventures and when you think he is down and out he perseveres..It just proves that there is a God and He really does watch over each and every one of us..’ .. Rodney Hill
July 16th, 2011… ‘I really enjoyed your book. I couldn’t put it down. That was quite an adventure! Well written, too.’ –Bill
July 26th, 2011… ‘I read your book without putting it down. One can feel your deep feelings and honesty. Thank you for sharing so much of your life.’ –Greg
User Rating: / Review by Dorothy Cox
|Remembering vividly his own pain, shame and isolation as a runaway from age twelve to early adulthood, CEO Michael Kennon hopes his story will let the untold thousands of runaway children in the U.S. know that if he made it, they can too.
Kennon said his recently published book, “Memoirs of a Runaway: A Story of Hope,” (www.memoirsofarunaway.com), will let teens who have run away or who are contemplating it, know that there are other, better choices, available to them.
For parents and other concerned adults Kennon wants his book to serve as third-party resource material on the problem of young runaways, a problem some law enforcement authorities say is approaching epidemic proportions.
In addition to being a runaway himself, Kennon did months of research on runaways and found it “a very difficult statistic that 1 in 7 children between the ages of 10 and 18 will at some time attempt to run away.”
He knows from experience that “it’s hard to approach a troubled teen. They’re defiant and scared.”
A hyperactive and intelligent child, Kennon at age ten was profoundly affected by his father’s death. And when his mother remarried a few years later to a man with his own character defects, among them anger and violent acting out, the fireworks began.
To get away from his step-dad and the physical and verbal abuse, Kennon ran away with several friends who were older. The difference was that the others returned home, but Kennon didn’t. Not for very long at a time, anyway.
The book is told in a first-person narrative that moves along at a fast clip. “I wanted to tell a story,” said Kennon. “I’m not trying to convince or preach; I’m just telling my story so that they’ll [runaways] know there’s hope, that they do have a place in this world.”
“Unfortunately,” he said, “some of the young people out on the road end up being raped or sexually abused by adults … [and] their abusive backgrounds make them susceptible” to abuse.
Kennon learned that the hard way: he tells in the book about a trucker who gave him a ride and later made sexual advances to him. The man did back off when Kennon asked him to and eventually taught him how to drive an 18-wheeler.
It was a skill that Kennon, now the CEO of a trucking company, Kennon Transport LLC, has used throughout his life. Unfortunately, he also learned about drug addiction, hunger and fear during his time as a runaway.
While he was on the road Kennon said “separation from God was when I felt the lowest. I was always arguing with God; I prayed all the time, but I didn’t even know I believed in Him.”
He said during that time “I was lost in drugs and not taking care of myself; it was cumulatively pushing me in God’s direction” but it also “chipped away at my sense of worthiness. I finally had an epiphany when I realized I did believe [in God]” but it wasn’t one isolated life-changing event but “more of a process.”
Even when he returned home for good Kennon said he tended to run from his problems. He credits Jesus Christ with enabling him finally to change that behavior.
Kennon said he eventually forgave his physically and emotionally abusive step dad. “He didn’t mean to be abusive,” he said.
Kennon’s mom divorced his step dad in the mid ’80s. “We didn’t have any contact afterwards, but I made peace with him. I forgave him a long time ago; I realized he wasn’t the problem, I was.
“I was hyperactive, and he wasn’t about to allow a spoiled child [rule the household]. The physical abuse went away but the emotional abuse was very damaging.”
He would like runaways to know that “a strong belief [in God] and having faith can help you to find the answers and find purpose.”
October 8th, 2012 — ‘Hi Mike..This is Stevie Your book was so fabulous to read..I’m hoping that I can get you to sign it. Your story is so heart warming and I’ll pray for the rest of your life to continue on a wonderful path of goodness. God bless you and your family.’
April 28th, 2014—finally just got to read your book and was very impressed with your story, and your manner of writing. It helped me to learn what living on the road was like for my step-son also. I wish that he had your faith, as I feel that it helped you to survive your ordeal. You knew the difference between right and wrong and always had God in the back of your mind, even though you were not able to accept His guidance during your defiant times. I was thrilled to read your “End Notes” because I think your mother (and father) gave you a good foundation to survive and to love. I’m so happy that you and Sue are still happy together. Marriage doesn’t just happen; you both have to work at it all of the time! …Chris
A free Runaway Resource Guide with statistics, information and phone numbers is also available to print and hand out.
Researching putting mom’s book (The Allergy Survival Guide and Cookbook) back in print. Mom wrote the book several years ago and she was one of the best in her field–and almost everything in the book is still relevant. It can help people struggling with allergies. Please send me an email if you are interested. Thanks.