3 out of 4 stars
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Take the Money and Run by Jim Gardner is a riveting chronicle of Joe Armstrong’s early life and navigation from adulthood to a successful businessman. He was raised in a close-knitted environment saturated with abject poverty, weak parental guidance, religious bigotry, domestic violence, drug abuse, crime, and sexual perversion. The author details the many odds and adversities Joe defied to become a successful businessman.
Joe’s mother, Joan Armstrong, had blind faith and unshakable loyalty to her husband, Harry Armstrong. He was, on the other hand, committed to torturing her by stealing from her frequently. They had a bad parental influence on Joe. Peer pressure was also a huge problem; Joe never made the right decisions in picking friends. Destined for a life of mediocrity, Joe became absorbed in the street games; stealing from the church, smoking at a tender age, petty shoplifting, and gang fights were all means of survival.
At 17 years old, Joe was in and out of jail, but he lived his ambitions of going to school. A new struggling lifestyle exposed him to alcoholism and womanizing. Married at 19 to Janice, they had two sons and a daughter. He rose through the ranks of an apprentice to that of a general manager of Yarrow shipbuilders. At 27 years old, Joe resigned as a manager to start a business. The business became a success, but old habits die hard. Was he able to sustain his marriage and business? How was he able to run the company with his bad habit? Did he meet someone who helps with his attitude dysfunction? The answers to these questions make Take the Money and Run a fascinating read.
This thriller offers a non-stop plot and layers of mystery that will keep readers guessing where Joe’s choices will take him. Jim Gardner crafted a surprising, absorbing narrative full of sacrifices and emotions in this book. Also, Take the Money and Run is wittily constructed, and although a trifle overlong, it still comes in as my humorous novel of the year. It teaches us to look more closely and to appreciate the good in the unfortunate situation that is overlooked in everyday society.
However, I think the story glorifies developing an unhealthy lifestyle and body shaming by some words used in the book. Also, some sentences are obsolete, gritty, and sincere. I was at a point not satisfied with the vulgar and profane words used in the book, but the suspense kept me going.
I discovered some grammatical errors in this book; however, due to the layers of mystery and suspense in the book, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I do not recommend this book for kids. Nevertheless, young adults, entrepreneurs, and students that love an excellent realistic success story that they can relate with can learn one or two from the book.
Take the money and run
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