Superman!:  A Kansas Man’s Story

Superman!:  A Kansas Man’s Story

William Craig Lachowsky

Reviewed by: Susan Brown

A memoir is simply a story. It is one individual’s look back on their life in an attempt to understand what made them who they are. It takes courage to delve into self-reflection. It takes particular courage to do it when you’re young and in your 30s. But since age isn’t the driver when it comes to telling one’s story, kudos to Mr. Lachowsky for sharing his perspective and recollections of his life journey … so far.

As the child of devoutly Catholic parents, he writes, “I have been disrupting systems, and challenging beliefs since the day I was born.” At age 10 he got into his first fight, the bellwether for a life colored by turbulence, which he has a lot to say about. His words are frank and candid and ring with an honest attempt at introspection.

The author’s bio states, “He hopes this memoir will inspire others like him, working-class and disabled veterans who hope to improve their lot, against the odds stacked against them.” He is clearly well-read and well-informed on current social mores and includes an abundance of cultural references to movies, songs, books, television shows, political activities and events which influence his writing. He presents a characteristic view on the present state of “the angry, unique, troubled white male in Heartland America.”

There is quite a bit to unpack in this narrative. It is as much a memoir as it is a platform to identify and recognize the struggles of the “disenfranchised,” a group he identifies with that includes the working-class, veterans and single young white men who don’t meet society’s definition of attractiveness. He writes, “Today, it can be difficult to figure out how to try to be a man.”

What’s impressive about Mr. Lachowsky’s story is his perseverance. He navigated the highs and lows of high school, succeeding on the football field because he worked hard on getting fit, an ongoing struggle. He was the first in his family to enlist in the U.S. Marines, rising to the rank of Sergeant. After the Marines, he enrolled in college with the hopes of getting a degree in business, and in spite of the challenges of school, kept at it for 11 years until he was diagnosed with PTSD and became eligible for Veterans Affairs disability.

Perhaps Mr. Lachowsky is not actually the iconic Superman as defined by the comic books, television shows, novels, video games, or even the multiple movies featuring the superhero from Krypton. But they are similar. They are both archetypes of guys from Kansas and they are about “as American as it gets.” Each has a story to tell about optimism, kindness, forgiveness, empathy and patriotism.

Mr. Lachowsky isn’t finished telling his story. He’s just beginning. He’s found his voice, one that is thought-provoking and compelling and worth a listen.

Superman!:  A Kansas Man’s Story