I‘ve been a slow reader lately, with all the changes in my life and schedule now that I‘m working again. I‘ve finally finished “Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go” By Lucille O’Neal, mother of the NBA’s loveable giant, Shaquille O’Neal. I purposely didn’t rush reading this book---I really enjoyed taking my time along the journey through Lucille’s account of her life and struggles from a state of “Mental Welfare” as Shaq called it, to her present state of Mental Health. Her life has been one of many challenges and obstacles -- some beyond her control and some, well, maybe of her own doing.
Her early life led her through many trials such as her parents’ divorce and growing up without her mother present, living in turmoil with harsh and sometimes abusive grandparents. She became an angry, troubled teen and ultimately a young single mother.
The journey continues through her marriage, raising her children as a military wife, moving across the globe, her lack of self-love and self esteem, while dealing with her own alcohol abuse. This was the Mental Welfare that had such a grip on her for so long. After the adjustments of moving back to the states and dealing with her son’s new found success, Lucille finally broke free of a marriage in which she’d been unhappy for a long time and reconnected with God, and began her journey towards Mental Health. Her faith and renewed sense of joy and freedom helped her begin to build confidence and she began to pursue her dream of a college education and becoming an inspirational public speaker. Although she suffered the pain of losing her mother to ovarian cancer, and dealing with her daughter’s illness, Lucille persevered and went on to become the President of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players Association and founded the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund which raises money for nursing scholarships and education for cancer research.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Allison Samuels did a great job, relaying Lucille’s emotions and experiences. I liked that each relatively short chapter began with a relevant scripture, as well as the list at the end of the book of her 40 most memorable scriptures that helped her over the last 40 years. I found myself really relating to Lucille about being unhappy in a long marriage, always fantasizing about leaving and finally getting the courage to divorce, although it meant walking away from everything you worked hard for -- I did the very same thing myself -- and working up the confidence to enroll in college later in life and pursue a degree. I think many young women, especially young mothers would benefit from reading this book and seeing that anything is possible with faith, perseverance and hard work. This is not only a story of struggle, but a story of a young mother’s determination to raise her children with all the attentive loving compassion that she never really got and all that her heart could possibly give. As another mom to a incredible, beautiful boy, I find this very inspiring.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com