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Official Review: Kevin's Last Walk, A Father's Final Jour...

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Official Review: Kevin's Last Walk, A Father's Final Jour...

Post Number:#1  Postby Stacie_C » 26 Apr 2014, 18:27

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Kevin's Last Walk, A Father's Final Journey With His Son" by Barry Adkins.]

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Barry Adkins watched his son, Kevin, drive away with a truck full of his belongings to his first ever home away from home. Kevin, at the age of eighteen, was moving out and though excited about his move had promised to retrieve his toothbrush and more belongings the next day. That day never came. Kevin died of alcohol poisoning at the housewarming party his roommates threw for him. Barry and his family were overcome with grief at the sudden loss of Kevin. Two nights after Kevin’s death, Barry woke at four o’clock in the morning, overwhelmed by Kevin’s presence and the idea that something very good would come from Kevin’s death. Barry began writing poems and editorials for the local paper. He began speaking about Kevin and his death in schools and in different communities. He also decided that in honor of Kevin he would walk from Gilbert, Arizona to Kalispell, Montana to lay his ashes to rest on family land, in a place Kevin loved. The journey would take him 1,400 miles, to many different schools, encountering thousands of students, spreading Kevin’s story along the way. It was a gigantic effort that required sponsors, incredible strength and the support of family and friends in what Barry called Kevin’s Last Walk.

Kevin’s Last Walk is an emotional and honest story about a man dealing with the loss of his son. Barry was proud of his son for graduating high school and wanting to become independent by moving out of his home. He had never expected that Kevin wouldn’t heed his warnings to be careful and to make smart decisions. Barry over time began accepting the fact that one bad decision led to his son’s death. He wanted to prevent others from making the same decision. It took Barry months to decide to speak in front of students and to spread his story but he wanted other young people to be aware of the consequences of their actions. Barry wanted to do his “something very good” whatever that may be. After deciding that he wanted to bury Kevin’s ashes in Montana, the idea of placing them in his backpack and walking there was one that no one could deter him from. He eventually found a sponsor with notMYkid,an organization that inspires and empowers youth, started mapping out routes and scheduling stops to speak at along the way which included interviews with local TV stations. His journey would begin days before his son’s birthday in February of 2007 and end days before his son’s death in July 2007.

Barry Adkins didn’t hold back in expressing himself in this non-fiction account of life after losing his son. Kevin’s Last Walk was full of reflection, hope, faith and inspiration. Barry included poems he wrote after his son’s death, correspondences from people regarding the effect Kevin’s story had on their life and journal entries from his time on the road. It was a testament to his strength, that he was able to openly and honestly reflect on his own parenting, things he could have done differently and the decision making of his son. Barry advocated education and awareness when dealing with alcohol and setting an example as a parent. Barry wasn’t looking to blame anyone and he wasn’t sure what his “something very good” may be but he wanted to make a difference.

Adkins approach to writing this novel wasn’t what I expected but I appreciated the journal entries and poetry included. The journal entries put in perspective the struggle of taking such a long journey on foot. The poetry was a great way for him to express his emotions at different times. In my opinion, Adkins could have improved the novel by including more information about his family and those directly affected by Kevin’s death. Vague information was provided initially but I would have liked more information about relationships he had outside of his relationship with Barry. I would have also liked information regarding Kevin’s faith and relationship with God. Barry’s faith and belief was a huge part of this novel and I’m simply curious if that is reflective of Kevin’s relationship as well.

Overall I enjoyed Kevin’s Last Walk. Barry’s writing style was simple but honest and direct in an effort to tell his story. I give this novel 3 out of 4 stars. I applaud Barry for wanting to spread this story and all of his efforts to make a difference spreading awareness especially in schools about alcohol.

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Re: Official Review: Kevin's Last Walk, A Father's Final Jou

Post Number:#2  Postby angeel » 21 Jun 2014, 23:30

I enjoy reading true stories and though they are not always written the way you expect how can you not be impressed. They capture your heart because the pour there heart and there soul onto the pages and at the end of the day it is not just a story it is there life. I especially like the fact that he goes around to schools and tell the kids of his story to help try and prevent other kids like his son to make the same mistakes
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Re: Official Review: Kevin's Last Walk, A Father's Final Jou

Post Number:#3  Postby Stacie_C » 22 Jun 2014, 18:38

He definitely wrote from the heart and poured his all into this book. You could tell that everything he was doing was because of how much he loved his son.
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