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Scott Brown's memoir, 'Against All Odds,' reveals troubled childhood for senator

Brown's early life was so horrible, it seems a marvel that he surmounted it. No matter your political affiliation, a reader will get an everything's-finally-right-with-the-world thrill from his success in life: his selection as "America's Sexiest Man," his lucrative modeling career, his studies at Boston College Law School, his happy marriage and family, his stint as a practicing lawyer and his terms in the Massachusetts legislature.

The narrative, which sometimes lapses into repetition, is at its best in recounting the dramatic U.S. Senate campaign; the story is poignant in its reflections on the Democrats' hubris. You can't help but root for the underdog, dismissed by the competition and by the media, yet unrelenting in his pursuit of the prize.

By the end of the tale, we've been drawn right up to the present and understand why today Republicans and Democrats are wary of Scott Brown. His life has demanded that he think for himself. As a survivor, he answers to his own blunt ideology of self-preservation. Or as he puts it: "If you're looking for someone who is going to be a full-on ideologue always marching in lockstep with his party, I'm probably not your guy."

Levingston is the nonfiction editor of Book World.

against all odds

My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks and Second Chances

Scott Brown

Harper, 325 pp


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