It’s my privilege to participate in Andy LaVallee’s book-launch blog tour, hosted by Ellen Gable Hrkach of Full Quiver Publishing.
Andy LaVallee’s spiritual memoir, From the Hub to the Heart, written with Leticia Velasquez, depicts his youth in a Boston neighborhood that was almost a small town in itself, his tough-guy young adult years in which he built a lucrative business, and his dramatic return to the Faith.
Yes, I said dramatic. It’s not St. Paul being thrown off a horse, but it’s close. Andy LaVallee has a big personality, and God needed to go big to get his attention. (And that’s all I’m going to say on the subject, because I’m no fan of spoilers.)
My favorite part of this memoir was the last page in each chapter. This is where LaVallee takes a look at what he learned through the lens of one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. He boils down what he has learned the hard way into advice for the reader. While the entire book reads as if LaVallee is sitting next to you, telling you his story and what he hopes you’ll learn from it, these pages relate his experiences directly to the Faith.
LaVallee’s faith became so important to him and to the way in which he lives his life and runs his business that the story of his faith journey just spills out of him. From a rough Boston neighborhood to the nation’s country clubs to Medjugorjie, the author learned to put God in charge of the direction of his life, as he explains in chapter 6, where he compares the GPS in his car to his own guiding principles. Summing up that chapter, LaVallee writes,
…I was lost, and now I have a goal and specific tasks to support me on my journey. These habits of virtue are the new me and how I can show love and forgiveness in each area of my life….it’s a constant battle to give up old bad habits and replace them with good ones, and thus must be kept up daily. (p. 133)
Because LaVallee’s book is instructional as well as inspirational, this would be an excellent read for anyone in the RCIA program or for someone interested in deepening their spiritual life.