Rolling Pennies in The Dark - Reviewed

Friday, February 24, 2012




A heartbreaking and inspirational memoir of one man’s journey from abject childhood poverty and abuse to a high-level career as a White House writer.With humor, compassion, faith, and brutal honesty, Douglas MacKinnon tells his story of life below the poverty line and how he struggled to overcome his childhood. He shares poignant stories of his childhood, including one about rolling pennies by candlelight because the electricity had once again been cut off, and his little sister needed medication. At one point, his alcoholic parents abandoned him and his two siblings for five days, with no food, heat, or electricity in the middle of winter.

But as Doug grew, his determination to survive grew with him. Despite being accepted to the Air Force Academy directly after high school, he stayed closer to home so he could look after his younger sister. And as various opportunities opened up to him, he discovered that his heart belonged in the political arena; for it was there, he believed, that he could work for real change and bring help to those who suffered as he did as a child.

Rolling Pennies in the Dark reminds readers that it is possible to grow up in the most deplorable of conditions and still find success. More significantly, MacKinnon offers real solutions to our nation’s growing poverty problem. This is an important, essential book.

My Thoughts: Doug and his younger siblings grew up in deplorable conditions, very little food, dirty home, drinking parents who fought and threw things. Yet, at a very early age when he was sent to Parochial school he was drawn to God. A little nativity scene was on a table and he felt safe and such peace when he went by it. He asked a Nun if he could have it and she said No, but he could buy it for four quarters. He knew what four quarters were so he took four quarters from his dad's suit coat and bought that nativity scene and placed it in his bedroom.
This was a hard, yet inspirational memoir, he went from a child who was abused and went on to work in the White House for two presidents, in a Joint Command at the Pentagon, and as a director of communications for former senator Bob Dole. It is quite clear that God had his hand on him from the time he was very young. I highly recommend!

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