Saturday, August 23, 2014

A family history with some advice thrown in

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the great heroes of our time and his words of wisdom are still relevant nearly 50 years after his death. The book King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family and Our Nation to Prosper was written by his niece Alveda King and attempts to distill his message into ideas that will help today's families live better lives.

The book is divided into ten chapters, each looking in depth at one of the rules.  These rules include things such as Make Home a Priority, Care for the Needy, Fight for Justice and Get a Good Education.  Most of the advice seems to be rather straightforward and obvious -- spend time together as a family, avoid premarital sex, respect differences, etc.  The author uses Biblical teachings to reinforce many of her rules.  Still, I found her message to be somewhat outdated (men are the rulers of the family, women should serve the men, comparing homosexuality to a "condition" that should be prayed about for healing, etc.).  To her credit, the author does mention some mistakes that she's made, admitting she "strayed from family values" in the past.

Dr. Alveda King is justifiably proud of her family legacy.  However, the book was more a collection of reminiscences about her famous family members rather than a traditional self-help or advice book.  In the short 2 1/2 page introduction, for example, she makes note of her "Uncle ML" 10 times.  There is also a family tree at the beginning of the book so that readers can keep all the family members she is constantly referring to somewhat straight.  Some rather jarring things were related in the book, such as the almost casual way she reveals that her father was murdered (although his death was officially ruled an accidental drowning).  Or the way, when she asks her father about all the women who "threw themselves" at him and Uncle ML, she only gets a vague reply from saying as long as the man respected his wife, that was the most important thing.  Huh?

This book should really be marketed more toward those who would enjoy reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family.  For people who are too young to remember him or weren't even born before his death, the personal reminiscences help to make him a real person.  The "rules" weren't all that helpful, though.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of King Rules from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for this review.

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