Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Beyond Recognition

The life of a police officer in the LAPD is never dull. Ronald's memoir, Beyond Recognition chronicle's the beginning of his career in the LAPD as he first worked his way through three years of patrol in hopes of joining the air support unit and the accident that killed a trainee, left Ron injured, and the aftermath that spiraled into betrayal and revenge. 

Categorized under memoir, this book reads more like narrative nonfiction. It focuses on the experiences Ron faced during this time period and is told as a story rather than an accounting of facts. I enjoyed this format, especially since I don't usually read memoirs and typically prefer fiction. The style was easy for readers to follow along with. As Ron is the main focus, readers get to know him the best, but there are a few memorable side "characters" as well that leave an impression. 

The book does not only center around the accident mentioned in the summary. Ron covers the period before he joins the air support unit, giving readers a good idea of what the patrol unit faced and how if differed from the air unit Ron was preparing to join. There was a good balance of comical and entertaining stories in the first half that balanced out the more serious and emotional second half of the book that deals more with the accident and it's aftermath. It was very interesting to follow what happened not only to Ron during his recovery, but the way the investigation was handled, the people who spoke for and against him, and the changes it inspired. This isn't a fast paced attention grabber, but it's a story readers will care about and want to see through to the end. 

This is Ron's first book, and he mentions that it was mainly written to tell about the events he experienced and show people what really happened. Not all the standard writing conventions were followed and at times the detailed explanations of police procedure, terminology, and acronyms bogged down the story, but overall, this was a very interesting and well done first book. A stronger editor assisting Ron out would have helped make this a more smoothly flowing story, but it didn't hinder the story enough to make it difficult to read. Ron handled this topic well even though it was a difficult one to write about. His honesty about his emotions and thoughts throughout the book made it easy for readers to connect and care about his story. 


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