George Santino spent the first part of his life in the South Philly projects, a rough, tough part of Philadelphia.
One of 7 kids, he spent a lot of his time dodging the raging fits of their alcoholic, perennially out of work father. After cashing in a welfare cheque, his father moved the family to sunny Florida; here he opened a restaurant which soon went bust.
With dad back on the couch all day, the kids spent as much time as possible out of the house and in order to survive, street smarts was what young George picked up real quick.
From being part of a gang at age 11, to carrying groceries for neighbours in a stolen cart and selling tomatoes from the back of a truck, he learned early how to earn a quick buck.
These were the first of his adventures.
Many more followed and along the way, he encountered several setbacks, both professionally and health-wise from a freak spinal cord injury.
Over them all, he triumphed, and went on to build a happy, loving marriage and family life, a long, successful career with Microsoft and a small fortune on the side.
All because of his simple philosophy of “No matter what life throws at you, get back up.”
If a plainly told, yet inspirational, rags-to-riches story peppered with good humour sounds like it might be your kind of reading, don’t miss this one.
Title: Get back up: from the streets to Microsoft suites
Author: George A. Santino with M.J. Beaufrand
Reviewed by: Suneeta N, Highland Park Library
Suneeta N particularly enjoys biographies, travel stories and reading authors from around the world. She loves a good discussion and believes that everybody has a story worth telling.