“Experience and relive The Hole, it is a true inspiring story in which a young man desperately struggled to overcome The Hole. To him the streets of Baltimore city was The Hole, it was a place that had bind and consumed his life, it gave some but took more. Surviving in the streets he had to watch as the drug game sucked many of his friends and family down into its dark abyss like the black hole it truly was. Finally realizing after years of tribulation and lost, he came to find that the key to his redemption lay in a form least expected.” -Goodreads
When I first started reading this book, I didn’t like it. It was set in Baltimore and it talked about life in the streets. About having sex and getting into gang fights. Something that I, as a Singaporean was not used to. I couldn’t level with the author because I didn’t understand his lifestyle. That said, I kept reading because there was just something about it that kept me interested.
So the story follows Will as he lives his life, gets into trouble with his brothers and chases girls. Around the middle of the book, something incredible happens. The author’s older brother Will gets shot and he goes into a coma for 7 months.
Following that, he becomes paralysed from the waist down and he doesn’t walk for 2 years. Then one night, after praying passionately, The Lord gave him the ability to walk again. After parading his new ability around to his family, he broke the very promise that he made to get God to give him back the ability to walk. So, God took the ability away again. The author quoted the bible here saying, ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.’. I have always read stories about the Lord giving. In majority of the things I’ve heard, The Lord is always giving. Very rarely do you come across a story that shows you that the Lord also takes away. Eventually the Lord granted him the ability to walk again though and that experience changed Will’s life drastically.
I have never read a book that was so raw and honest as this one was. I could feel that the author was stripping bare in this book and just letting his memories consume him which is something you rarely find in novels and autobiographies nowadays.
This is certainly a must-read because of it’s honesty. What I liked about the book was that the author wasn’t trying to cover anything up. He portrayed Baltimore and life there the way it was. There want stereotypes that you find in the movies. There was just him and his life.
After reading this book, I emailed Dameon Gibbs (Will’s younger brother who is referred to as Nick in the book). I had a few questions about the book and about his life. Dameon graciously answered all my questions, no matter how blunt, and he has kindly allowed me to publish his answers here.
1) What was it like hearing that your brother was shot? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news? Did you get to visit him often?
I was only around the age of 9 when I heard that my brother was shot, I was so young and oblivious to what was going on at that age. All I really remember was visiting my brother in the hospital and seeing him lying on the couch. I always thought that he was just tired and that was his reason for not walking around. I did not fully understand the events that unfolded until I was older.
2) What were the 7 months like not knowing if Will was going to survive?
My parents sort of kept me in the dark concerning my brother, they always just said that he would be alright and I believed what they said. I did not give it much thought.
3) Does Will ever still struggle with doing things because of the shooting? Did he ever pursue the Turntables?
Yes, he does not work because his injuries has started to take their tolls on his body. He worked up until two years ago but eventually his doctors stated that he needs to stop working. For the most part he can do just about everything a normal person can do except run and jump. We have currently started our own DJ business which is doing moderately ok.
4) Did you see Will walk that night and did you see the ability get taken away?
I remember the night vaguely but not enough to elaborate on it.
5) How did watching the Lord work in his life affect you personally? Was it scary knowing how powerful the Lord was?
Seeing the Lord work in his life sadly did affect me and anyway. The Lord had to deliver me from my own struggles. But now that I can reflect back on it, the Lord did show his amazing power and abilities on my brother’s and families life. To be honest it was the power of the Lord that brought me to him in 1998, but that’s an entirely different story.
6) Did your family struggle to remain tight after the shooting?
No my family did not struggle to remain tight after the shooting. If anything, it brought us closer together. And to this day we are still very close.
7) Did you ever want to get revenge on Will’s shooter?
I never wanted to get revenge on Will’s shooter, simply because I was too young to know and truly understand revenge.
8) Did your family ever get upset with Will over his decision to not press charges? Did you?
No one in our family (particular my parents) was upset with Will. It was a decision that he made so my parents supported him. And to this day Will remains good friends with those that shot him, he really has put the incident in the pass.
9) Now that you are older, do you still think that what your father did was abuse?
Now that I am older, I do not believe that what my father did was abuse. My father did what he did because his sons were simply bad. As for me, my father never really laid hands on me. He even supported me through high school and college. My father was a father to many of the kids in the neighborhood that did not have fathers. He was seen as a nice man. Many people may see it as abuse, which I probably was. However, I see it as discipline. Would I ever do that to my kids not. I consider myself a good man, and I can honestly say that I learned how to be a man to my and wife, by watching how my father raised us and how he treated my mother. My father never, ever raised a hand to hit my mother, he never hit her or cursed at her. The fact remains that my brothers were just bad, doing things that most kids probably would not ever do from fear of what their parents would do. My brothers for some reason did not have that natural fear of discipline.
10) How and why did you and Will decide to write the book?
We decided to write Will’s book because we wanted to tell his story, and show that the life of drugs and gangs are not the way to go although it appears promising to others, especially youth that idolize what they see on TV.
11) Considering that the book was written for your 15 year old son, was it appropriate to mention Will’s sex and drug life to such an extent? Wouldn’t it have been inappropriate and a bad influence to condone such behaviors in a book written specifically for him?
Book One is only one of five books. The book was originally set to be one book, but the length turned out to be too much, with a total of 740 pages. Therefore we decided to break it down into five books. We wanted to tell life like it truly is when living in Baltimore City. It doesn’t matter how we write it, because the fact remains that once kids go outside into the streets they see an even harsher world with there own eyes. We wanted him to know the truth regarding every aspect. We are not necessarily approving such things, as the story goes on, we later explain that these are not the things anyone should do but that comes in the later books. We are just stating everything that Will went through and that these things such as sex, money, drugs, etc will be his later downfall. This is revealed in later books.
12) You never mentioned what exactly the question was that your son asked and that you were trying to answer. What was the question?
Yes we never actually mention the question because that come later in other books, as it was originally meant to be one book. This might ruin later books if you were to read them. For books 2 & 3 are now available.
Special thanks to Dameon Gibbs for reaching out to me to review his book and for being so lovely about answering all my questions as quickly as possible and as comprehensively as he could. Dameon is very inspiring and you can check out his other work here.
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here.