41D Man of Valor - Book Review

Generally, I focus stories on individuals who overcame or are overcoming spinal cord injuries, but thought I'd share a book review I wrote about a LAPD SWAT officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2008.  His wife wrote a book after his death. My connection is that his wife's sister is a friend of mine from work.

Normally, I wouldn't have picked this book up, but for my connection with my friend.  And boy am I glad I did because it was a really good read.

If you want to check out the book, here is the link to the Amazon page:  41D Man of Valor

Here is my take on the book:

Disclosure: I know the author’s sister, but have never met the author, or had I ever met Randy Simmons. Disclosures are to inform the reader of the review of any chance of bias.  And it’s a good practice because it’s hard to be unbiased when you are only two degrees of separation from the author.

That said, it doesn’t matter how many degrees of separation are between me and the author, Lisa Simmons – whether zero or a hundred, the book is a WOW! It is categorized as a biography/autobiography/memoir.  It is mostly a biography of Randy Simmons and a memoir of Lisa’s life she had with Randy.  Lisa’s autobiographical narrative blends in with her memoirs. 

Randy Simmons was a SWAT officer in the Los Angeles Police Department.  On February 8, 2008, he became the first LAPD SWAT officer killed in the line of duty.  41D Man of Valor, is his story.

The book starts off as a biography of Randy Simmons, from his childhood in New York, high school in California, college in Washington, and back to California, from his interest in football to religion, and his parents’ influence.  Once he meets Lisa, the book shifts slightly to a memoir/biography, but the focus is clearly on Randy.  But now, instead of his parents’ influence on him, it is Randy’s influence with the community he served, both on and off duty, and the family he loved. Simmons ends the book with the aftermath of Randy’s death, and her quest to live a “new normal.”  Although Lisa and the children are the clear focus on this part of the book, Randy still has a big presence in their lives, and it is obvious, always will.

No doubt, Randy Simmons was an inspirational man.  That in itself would make this book worth reading.  What makes this book special is the love that permeates from the pages of the book to your fingers to your heart. Lisa Simmons does a great job in conveying this - not in any specific sentence, or paragraph, or any one incident – but in the totality of the writing.

So, even though a biography an autobiography/memoir are mutually exclusive terms, in this case, it is an accurate categorization.  However, there is one more word that adds to the description:  Tribute.  It’s a tribute to a man dedicated to his profession; it is a tribute to a man who gave his life to the community he served; it is a tribute to a man who inspired others. Most of all, it is a tribute to a loving husband, father, son and brother. Let’s make that a heart-warming tribute.

Leave a comment

Add comment