Cancer sucks.


This week’s book is about a young man who was taken too soon. Before we begin, I have a few confessions to make.

  1. I had never heard of this athlete prior to reading this book.
  2. I am not this book’s target audience.
  3. This review will contain affiliate links, and I receive a small commission from any purchases made through them.

Still with me? Great.

The Target Audience for This Heartbreaking Cancer Story

As I stated in number 2 above, this book wasn’t aimed at me. I know next to nothing about most sports. I have little to no experience with sports and am not nor have I ever been athletic in any way, shape, or form. Sports don’t connect to me on the same deep, emotional level that it can with some people. I respect the discipline, training, strength, and planning that goes into them, but I can’t personally relate. If you’re a huge sports fan, this book may resonate much more strongly with you.

Speaking of sports, hunting and fishing are involved. I respect peoples’ right to hunt for food and sport, but I’m an animal-loving vegetarian. The hunting scenes simply didn’t speak to me. Again, this story may appeal more to readers with experience tracking live game.

Finally, this story will really connect with religious people, particularly Christians and especially Catholics. There are several mentions of the bible and how personal faith helped the athlete and his family navigate their hardships. Though I appreciate that religion provided them with this positive support, I could not relate to this on a personal level. I believe Christian readers will find this book inspiring and even uplifting at times.

He Was Picked

I Was Picked: The John Challis Story, by Howard Shapiro is a deep dive into the life of John Challis. John was only in high school when he was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer. He fought back with a vengeance through sports and by spreading his message of courage and hope. This book contains photos of John’s journey as well as excerpts from interviews with his family and friends. Shapiro clearly segments each section, grouping interviews and data points together by theme. He conducted an incredible amount of research.

Even though I’m not the target audience, there is something about John’s message that applies to everyone. He reminds us that life is short. And through this book, he also urges us to live life to the fullest.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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