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Title: When I Woke Up
Author: Paul Evans & Carolyn Coe
Type: Memoir
Published: 2019
Pages: 284

“All the wake-up calls in my life led me to this one. People say life’s too short. Unless you have been to life’s cliff edge, you don’t know how true that statement is. When I died, I was full of regret for the things I hadn’t done and the wrongs I hadn’t put right.”

When I Woke Up is a memoir which tells the story of the life of Paul Evans. Coming from humble beginnings, his life has seen him bullied at school for his dyslexia, fighting for his life when he is left in a coma, becoming a fugitive when he is captured at gunpoint for a crime he did not commit, and along the way, making and losing friends, falling in and out of love and having two sons too. The book is a manual on how to overcome life’s biggest obstacles because its protagonist, Paul, has been through just about all of them.

First of all, I loved the storytelling in this book! While everything that happens is true, the author was very good at conveying not only the events, but the impact they had on Paul. As his intention was to make this book a manual, I think it was important to constantly reaffirm each lesson he was learning, as he learnt them, and that’s something the book certainly achieves. The book is separated into “Wake-up Calls” which I loved, and again thought really helped the reader understand Paul’s intended message while reading.

I actually think this book was done a disservice because the marketing focuses a lot on him going to a “parallel universe” while in a coma. I was intrigued by this, but did think it a little odd, and now having read the book, it is about so much more than the coma, in fact that’s only a small part of the overall story. So I hope no one is put off because of that!

The plethora of people we’re introduced to along the way made the book all the more interesting too; I enjoyed that it was often hard to tell whether they would impact Paul’s life positively or negatively, making it unpredictable and therefore more enticing. I also liked the consistency of Paul’s family – no matter what situation he found himself in, they were there as his rock, something I found not only heart-warming, but enviable too.

What made this book so inspirational was that no matter how many times Paul was knocked down, he always found a way to get back up again. I think it also helped that the book was fast-paced, moving between events in his life quickly which allowed the reader to see his rises and falls rapidly and take in the meaning of them too.

Overall I think this book is an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn about how to overcome obstacles from someone who’s pretty much seen all of them. I also think it conveys an important message about how to stay focused in order to achieve what you want in life. I think Paul’s honesty, coupled with Carolyn’s fantastic storytelling, made this book really impactful and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Thank you to the author, Paul Evans, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review overview



8.6Meaningful, Useful, Well-written

Tags : review
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