Connected From God Father to God the Father
By J. Alden Hall
Published by Choose Now Publishers
303 Pages

Back Cover: The FBI's search for an escaped convict, a former member of John Dillinger's gang, brought them to little Bobo's house as they attempted to unearth his father. Bobo's dad eluded capture, and the seven-year old joined his father, embarking on life as a fugitive. Searching for happiness through his Catholic boarding school years and success as a businessman, Jim Hall became entrenched in the mafia. With riveting tales of Frank Sinatra, LasVegas casinos, and a possible connection to JFK's death, this is the miraculous true story of a boy connected to the Godfather who finds his way to peace with God the Father.

REVIEW: This is a powerful true story of a young boy abandoned by his parents; when they decide to run from police. His world is turned upside down and quickly learns how to fend for himself. It’s a gripping memoir that reads like a novel; I had to keep remembering I was reading about the authors "real" life experiences.

Jim Hall and I at his book launch
My heart went out to little Bobo who was looking for love, support, security, and guidance and didn't find it with his family. His situation was out of his control. He was left to survive and figure things out on his own. He had to grow up fast. “I glanced at the boxes (in the car) and a frightening reality hit me. This was all we had everything else was gone forever. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I turned to watch the dark outline of our home become smaller. The questions slurred together. “Where are we going? Will we come back? Of course we wouldn't. Even I knew that…my mom commanded me, “Bobo, Be brave.”

Bobo (as his family called him) is surprised when his father finds him in a public place. It had been a long time since he laid eyes on his dad. He says to him; “You didn't see me.”  ...”But I did see you dad”; “Bobo if a stranger asks you anything about me, lie.”

Jim Hall with Seedwriters group
“I cocked my head. No stranger ever asked me anything …But more confusing, I’d just been ordered to lie – by my Dad. That wasn't right. Dad has always said to tell the truth no matter what. I mean, I was no stranger to lying like any boy, but wasn't that bad?...What had changed? But if I questioned dad, maybe he’d stop coming to see me. Maybe he’d never come back for us. “I gave a solemn nod. “I promise.”

This author shares his wilderness years with readers. It reveals that even when Bobo felt like he was drifting through life – even when the fear of what would happen next tried to consume him; there were moments when family, friends, and strangers protected him,  took the time to plant seeds of love, faith and courage in him. Those moments didn't change his life at the time but later when Bobo reflected on them and others events; he saw how God was wooing him all along.  It wasn't until he was behind bars that he realized he needed God. It was then God showed Bobo how he could have the peace, joy, love and acceptance he had sought out his whole life. Jim had a whole in his heart (like we all do) that only God can fill. He’d have to make a choice who would rule his life God or money.

It was interesting to hear young Bobo talk about church. He says, “Stupid.” I tried out the word Dad used to describe church goers. We were Catholic, whatever that meant. But it always seemed like Dad agreed with the Bing Crosby movies, “Church is full of nothing but hypocrites. A hypocrite sounded a lot like something I didn't
want to be.”

I’m thankful this author had the courage to share these riveting events from his childhood that began in poverty, full of trauma, toughness, learning lies and deception at the hands of his father and relying on his own efforts to survive. Then to Bobo’s surprise he enters a Catholic school and asks his mom, “Where is everyone?”

Jim Hall & Ane Mulligan at Book Launch 2014
“They’re at Mass. The principal thought it best you come in when no one else was around.”

“Mass? What’s a Mass? Why did grownups say strange things like that but never explain it?...”I’d entered a world of riddles. Why was there a bowl of water at the door, and why were people putting their fingers in it? Why were they touching their head and belly buttons before touching both shoulders? What’s in the small closets with red lights above the doors? The mysterious shrouded the musty cathedral like a cloak.”

This is a story I couldn't put down.  Bobo’s innocence and his crazy situations tugged at my heart. Things could have gone worse real fast. But Bobo learned early on how to make money to take care of himself. After high school he learned deceiving tricks to selling real-estate and big money started rolling in. He talks about the Mafia, Mob bosses favors and Hollywood stars and presidents giving a tour of history and his life.

Jim Hall at Sugar hill Book Launch 2014
This is a gripping, emotional read that will pull at your heart strings, inspire you as you see the redeeming grace of our loving heavenly father getting a hold of this young man.  I highly recommend this book to read for inspiration and for your next book club pick. Thanks to the Book Club Network for Book for my review copy.

Nora St. Laurent
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