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Against All Odds Book Review

Against All Odds – Becoming More Than Your Experiences

Book Review

By Colnese M. Hendon, Author

In Against All Odds – Becoming More Than Your Experiences, author De’Vord J. Allen goes to battle against the ill-effects of 400 years of slavery, post-slavery, and the ongoing oppression of African American men, women and children. He comes against the Cradle to Prison pipeline that targets Black men from the womb to the tomb and the systemic racism that negatively affects people of color in this nation. In his narrative, Allen is a Black man who represents countless other young Black men, who grow up in poverty and want more out of life, but lack positive role models, as well as a roadmap to get what they want out of life and where they want to go without placing themselves at risk of incarceration and/or premature death. Allen addresses those issues by first providing his personal testimony as a child, who was placed in foster care and the juvenile justice system as a youth and was incarcerated three times and served lengthy prison sentences in State and Federal penitentiaries as a man.

In his deep and thought-provoking narrative, Allen provides the key insights and wisdom he gained along the way in hopes that he can save other young Black men from the destructive path he was on – a path through which he sought to achieve riches through ill-gotten gains, such as hustling and drug dealing while living “the life.” On the brink of his third incarceration, Allen decides to change his life after being motivated, in part, by the DA, who described him as a human failure. These words caused Allen to experience an epiphany and to develop the conviction and determination to change his circumstances and achieve a more positive and fruitful life. Allen was able to accomplish his goal by first changing his mindset and, consequently, his actions. Allen’s relentless internal work resulted in his ability to achieve long-lasting positive change. Like a phoenix, De’vord J. Allen arose from the ashes of years of confinement by changing his values, thoughts, perspectives, and actions. He dug deep within to transform his life, and as a result, he is now walking in the destiny and purpose God called him to.

Through the nuggets of wisdom shared by Allen in Against All Odds – Becoming More Than Your Experiences, he provides a road map for African American males and others, who have been placed at risk of incarceration and premature death by systemic racism, generational poverty, and oppression, to change their lives. His bookprovides readers a first-row seat and a guided tour through the thoughts, insights, external terrain, and internal motivations of a young Black man determined to overcome the poverty and hopelessness that surrounds him, leading him to seek wealth and notoriety by any means necessary. This book is a must-read for anyone who desires to understand the circumstances at the root of the choices many young Black men make, which ultimately rob them of the life and destiny they were meant to achieve. Because Against All Odds has the potential to change the trajectory of the cradle to prison pipeline, it is a must read for clergy, counselors, psychologists, youth workers, correction officers, judges, lawyers, family members, and incarcerated men, women, youth and the family members and friends who love them.  

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