Bound by My Choices: How a Death Nearly Broke Me But the Navy Saved Me by Keshawn A. Spence

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Bound by My ChoicesThis illustrated memoir is a modern fairy tale of how a troubled young boy managed to overcome the many obstacles thrown his way and how he continues to do so as an adult. Keshawn A. Spence claims that he is bound by his choices, but as his story unfolds, the opposite message seems to emerge, one of freedom and possibilities.

Bound by My Choices is mostly rooted in the childhood of the author, focusing on the influence of the external factors over his life. The book debuts with a series of photos immortalizing some of the most important events throughout his life, but also some that are precious precisely because they mirror the nakedness of real life. So, ever since the beginning, the intention of the author to create an intimate bond with the reader on his journey of self-discovery is quite clear.

A very special part is dedicated to his large family, as each member, contributed in a meaningful way to shape his personality. Keshawn A. Spence cordially invites the reader inside his family circle and reveals personal stories about those who had a bigger impact on his life. This proof of trust on his part and implicit agreement to confidentiality on the part of the reader creates a strong bond between the two.

As the pages of his life events keep turning, he ends up finding a much coveted stability in the navy. What started out as just a way to prove a point (as someone he respected did not believe he would be navy material) ended up becoming a way of life. Only a small part of this book is dedicated to this consistent life chapter, the meat of the experience is promised to the sequel. Nevertheless, a clear contrast becomes blatantly obvious between the characteristics of Keshawn A. Spence’s childhood surroundings, and those of the navy, which only makes his journey more intriguing.

The main message of the book is that we should not allow our surroundings to shape us; we can fight against a seemingly predetermined path and choose our own. However, as Keshawn A. Spence warns us, by example, this is not a simple road to walk down on. His book, Bound by My Choices is a delightful blend of a memoir and motivational book, succeeding in walking the line between these two genres.