Title: Poor No More: An American Dream
Author: Steven Bentley, MD
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Hollywood Book Reviews
Despite a deprived, dysfunctional upbringing, author Steven Bentley realized his dream to rise to personal and professional fulfillment as chromized in Poor No More – An American Dream. One of Bentley’s early memories is of his alcoholic mother, divorced and desperate, taking her five children to church, getting “saved,” appealing for assistance for her desperate brood…and then doing it all over again at another church…and another. She once set a car on fire by smoking in a drunken stupor.
Born with an incurable genetic disease, Kartegener Syndrome, Bentley had many health crises throughout his life, making his childhood circumstances all the more marginal. When he and three siblings were taken in by his father, a white supremacist, and a new stepmother, things seemed better at first because there was money for their support and a big house to live in. But the stepmother consistently mistreated his sisters and then began to demand sexual favors from Bentley, then in his teens. Finally able to go to a local college with almost no assistance from family, the author set his mind on a medical career, a way to use his fine mind and make money. He was determined to be “poor no more.”
As an adult, Bentley pursued his hobbies—exotic travel, skiing, biking and diving—that fit compatibly with his chosen profession as an ER doctor. Though at first he wanted to be a doctor simply to obliterate the miseries of poverty, he grew into the work, enjoyed the comradeship of fellow physicians and experienced real compassion for his patients.
Bentley’s life was, as he describes it quite vividly, filled with crisis after crisis as he endured serious physical ailments, battled to change his economic circumstances and tried to take care of his brother over the years. He recounts these struggles in an organized chronology which puts the reader firmly in the frame. Bentley is clearly not an experienced writer—the text is overwhelmed at times with exclamation points, for example, giving it a comic book feel. However, his account is sincere and his achievements in adulthood, after a dreadful, traumatic youth, could serve as an inspiration for others to find a way to prevail and prosper despite unenviable beginnings. Poor No More – An American Dream is a first-hand account of how the author achieved a respectable social position and grew beyond the limitations and hardships of his youth. It is an inspiration to all those lucky enough to read such a moving story.
I would recommend “Poor No More – An American Dream” by Steven Bentley, MD , to anyone looking for inspiration by someone who has been through obstacles most of us will never encounter, and still sees the good in life. Dr. Bentley is a person for each of us to emulate, learning from his courage and strength, both mentally and physically. Most certainly, it will inspire a need for reflection and gratitude upon your own life, and the choices made along the way.