Kicking Ass and Saving Souls
July 21, 2011 § 3 Comments
From the book jacket:
Stefan Templeton was born a child of extremes. He spent half his childhood with his African American philosopher father in the decaying ghetto of Baltimore in the 1970s. The other half was spent with his Norwegian mother in the wealthiest enclaves of Europe. His father was a brilliant academic, and intense disciplinarian, and a lethal martial artist. His mother, an aristocrat by birth, was a mystic and a healer. By the time Stefan was nine, he spoke four languages. By the time he was seventeen, he had a black belt and could take apart a .45 automatic in the dark.
Things got heavier from there. Stefan’s wanderlust and action jones took him all over the world. Before he was twenty-one, he’d hunted in Burgundy, brawled in Oxford, served as a medicine man in Colombia, escaped death on the Amazon, and trained to be a deep-sea diver on Cousteau’s Calypso.
At twenty-five, love for the mother of his first child settled him in Norway but didn’t settle him down. He drifted into a labyrinthine criminal underworld, where he pulled off an enormous jewel heist and became a player in a European smuggling consortium. But his conscience demanded that his life be about more than the next adrenaline fix, the next adventure, the next score. His road to redemption led him to some of the bleakest corners of the globe, where he finally found a focus for his life in humanitarian relief work: on the beach in the wake of the Indoneasian tsunami and on the ground following the Sudanese civil war. That was just the beginning.
Kicking Ass and Saving Souls is a true testament to the capacity of the human spirit, a mythic adventure made palpable, lyrical, and human by David Matthews- Stefan’s childhood friend and sometimes harshest critic.
I would be lying if I said the story of Stefan Templeton didn’t grab me from the start. He is a human being just like the rest of us, but he has lived an extraordinary life. Things that the general population can only dream of were seen and done by Stefan by the time he became an adult. Deep sea diving, traveling over several continents, a run in with a member of the Yakuza, walking through crime ridden neighborhoods in the dead of night for an adrenaline fix as a teenager, and helping people in need all over the world – this is only a sampling of the things Stefan Templeton has experienced.
At times, this man’s story seems almost unrealistic and you can’t help but think, ‘Really, one person has done all of this?’ Yet there is one about the book that makes you realize, yes this is true, this is the extraordinary story of a real person, and that is seeing the change in Stefan as he goes through life.
The changes Stefan goes through from the time he was a child through his adulthood is my favorite part of Kicking Ass and Saving Souls. The book paints a picture of Stefan’s life and the many good and not-so-good things he’s done. Seeing that he had made both good choices and some mistakes gives him a human quality. This isn’t just some unrealistic story, but it’s the life of a living and breathing person. A father, a son, a friend, a lover.
Stefan Templeton has done some amazing things during his life. He’s seen the most beautiful parts of the world and the ugliest. His story, told by his good friend David Matthews, is absolutely worth reading.