The memoir follows Skyhorse through his childhood and his college years, as his family goes through father after father and he gives his soft heart to a series of men in hard positions. Skyhorse doesn’t flinch when talking about his complicated life. He quotes his mother, often: “At least it’s never boring.”
It isn’t boring. It’s a moving and poignant search for identity under impossible circumstances, and by the time Skyhorse searches for the truth about his biological father, the results are powerful. I sobbed through the final section. Part of that power comes from Skyhorse’s understanding of narrative, his novelist’s eye: “Narrative is breath… From the breath my grandmother gave me to the breath it takes for you to read this sentence, stories sustain us. They carry us through the lives we convince ourselves we can’t escape to get to the lives we out or need to live instead.”
Thanks to the chaos of his first 40 years, Skyhorse is still stuck between two lives and two cultures. But perhaps the writing and truth-telling from this memoir will set him free. One ends Take This Man rooting for Skyhorse, hoping that he can take all these stories and turn them into something worthwhile. This book is certainly a start.