Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Short Life Well Lived

A Short Life Well Lived

by Tom Sullivan

Brian O'Connor is an attorney who is married with two kids. He is also blind. When his 11-year-old son, Tommy, is found to have cancer after breaking his arm during a baseball game, Brian is devastated. Having no faith in God, he feels angry and lost. Rev. Clayton McRae, the hospital chaplain, befriends him and encourages him to train with him for the Boston Marathon, and raise money for kids with cancer. During his running sessions with Clayton, Brian vents his frustrations about his son being sick, and questions a God who would allow this to happen.

A Short Life Well Lived takes the reader on Brian's faith journey, which I found to be very honest and realistic. I have to admit this was a hard book to read. Any story about a sick child makes me sad. But overall I did enjoy the book. Working in healthcare myself, I was able to better empathize with parents of sick children by the end of the book. I think another thing that made the book intriguing was the fact that the author, Tom Sullivan, is also blind. This gave an authenticity to his character's experience with blindness. I would recommend this book to anyone who questions their faith in God, or just simply wants a closer walk with God.

About the author: Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan, known to many as an actor, singer, entertainer, author and producer, lives and works by “Sullivan’s Rules.”  As a young boy he found himself fenced in his back yard, but he refused to be fenced in by his blindness.  “Sullivan’s Rules” were invented by Tom and his father, Porky Sullivan, so that he could play baseball with the neighborhood boys without the benefit of seeing the ball.  It became the most popular game on the block.  “Sullivan’s Rules” became the rules to play by in the sighted world, and that meant playing almost anything.
One of Sullivan’s first rules is that any negative can be turned into positive.  Born prematurely in 1947, Tom was given too much oxygen while in an incubator.  Though it saved his life, it cost him his eyesight.  The “inconvenience” of being blind has never kept Tom Sullivan from competing in a world where he realized that to be equal, for him, meant that he must be better.  Even as he may have had to change the rules slightly, he has proven that one need not be limited by a handicap, whether it is playing backyard baseball as a youngster or any activity he’s pursued.  Tom is an excellent golfer.  (“I’ve never seen a water hazard.  I always have an open shot to the green.”)  He’s an avid snow skier and a marathon runner and has been inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
As a special correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America, Tom became a regular morning fixture in millions of American homes.  His touching and insightful reports gave many that “you can do it” bit of inspiration to start their day.
Tom went on to be nominated for two Emmy Awards and has acted on TV series, such as Designing Women, Highway to Heaven, Fame, M*A*S*H, Mork & Mindy and WKRP in Cincinnati, just to name a few.  But to create the characters and fulfill the role of a blind man on prime time he also helped write and develop many of these stories.
Thanks to Tom’s public life, he has been privileged to become one of America’s most sought-after motivational speakers, communicating with over 3,000 corporations around the world.  His message of hope is best expressed in his quote from his ESPN special, Superior Beings:  “If extraordinary people can do impossible things, isn’t it reasonable to assume that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Glass Road Public Relations. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Holly, this is a perfect example how two people of generally like mind can read the same book and see two completely different things! You'll see what I mean when my review goes up--I wrote it last night and set it to auto-publish tonight. That said, it was very moving, and I found myself fighting back tears multiple times. (I finally just let go and made a mess of my mascara!)

  2. Looking forward to reading yours now! The review above is actually a different one from the original one I wrote when I finished the book a week ago. Last night when I was putting the finishing touches on my review and adding the author's bio, I wiped out my review! Ugh...I was so upset! So because the book wasn't as fresh in my mind, I had to go with what I remembered...