I wanted to read Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service by Gary Sinise because he and his wife grew up in Illinois and I knew of his band – The Lt. Dan Band. The novel covers his life, beginning on the south side of Chicago and later moving to the north suburbs. He was not a good student, often on the wild side – but his life was transformed by the discovery of theatre when he got to high school. (The drama teachers thought he and his friend looked like gang members, and invited them to auditions for ‘West Side Story’.)
I enjoyed reading about John Malkovich, Laurie Metcalf and other friends Gary Sinise met – who were attending Illinois State University, but about 3 years ahead of me. I also loved his stories of how they began the famous Steppenwolf theater in Chicago. In my mind, Sinise will always be Lt. Dan from the movie, Forrest Gump, and he includes tales of making that movie, as well as his climb to success in acting. (The book even has some wonderful pictures that correspond with the stories.) Interesting details are also shared about the movie, Apollo 13, and the CSI: New York tv series.
This biography really highlights the commitment that Gary Sinise has given to the veterans and first responders of our country. He wants each of us to remember that “freedom is never free – someone has to pay for it.” Thank you to Gary Sinise for supporting the men and women who have paid that price for us – your book brought their stories to my heart. I think anyone who reads Grateful American will appreciate those veterans. And it showed me that Gary Sinise was just a typical American kid, who grew up wanting the things we all want, but discovered a greater fulfillment in giving back to others. His story really impressed me.
Here is a link to a Grateful American book signing that you might enjoy: