This 242-page read really took me for a ride.
I can’t tell you The Kid is an enjoyable read, but it is an important one. In it, Kevin Lewis tells about the first 30 years of his life. He endured horrific abuse from his parents, was failed by the child welfare system, and became a criminal as a young adult to avoid falling into the same poverty his family had been in.
While it’s a difficult read emotionally, Lewis tells his story well. For the first entire half (and more), as he details the abuse meted out to him by his parents throughout his childhood, I felt such rage toward anyone who could harm an innocent kid.
I asked myself why I was reading something that hurt so much to read, and the answer that came to me was: to understand. Lewis originally wrote the book as a way of explaining his past to his wife, but his hope for it grew:
I wanted her to understand who I am and what has happened to me … I decided to publish it in the hope that others would understand what it’s like for a child to have no hope … give a little more insight into why some kids so badly wrong, so that we can find ways to help them feel less frightened, abandoned and alone in the world.
And I realized this isn’t a book to read for my own enjoyment.
This story has been repeated way too many times, in way too many families. Maybe if enough of us are willing to face the uncomfortable truth long enough to hear these stories, we can begin to see the warning signs. Maybe we can start to understand the root causes for a family as dysfunctional as Lewis’s was.
And maybe, just maybe, we can start working toward change.