As with all candidates who have aspirations of serving in the Executive Branch, Marco Rubio, a possible Romney running mate, has written his autobiography.  At age forty-one he has risen to national prominence and is the subject of widespread interest.  An American Son is the story of a child of Cuban immigrants.

Woven throughout the book are the themes of family, ambition, and the American dream.  This book takes the reader on a journey beginning with his parent’s emigration from Cuba in 1956, seeking freedom in their new country.  He chronicles the sacrifices made to give their children a better opportunity.  He noted about his parents, “…they had the will to improve their circumstances and the confidence they were in the right place to do it. Life in the United States wasn’t easy for my parents, but it was better than the alternative.”

As a boy he spent countless hours with his grandfather, discussing history and the greatness of President Reagan.  He wrote, “My grandfather didn’t know America was exceptional because he read about it in a book.  He lived it and saw it with his own eyes.”  Devastated by his grandfather’s death he struggled to enjoy life, although eventually deciding the best way to honor his grandfather was to make something of himself, eventually obtaining a law degree.

Having played football through college, it became obvious that it played a predominate role in his life. While running for the Senate in 2010 he used the football metaphor, “You spend the summer months getting ready for the football season by training in the gym and on the field…There are no crowds to inspire you…It’s just you and a few teammates…grinding it out and getting stronger…All the fundraising and policy speeches and grassroots building was the thankless grunt work that would pay off in the fourth quarter of the championship game…”

About a third of the book is devoted to the 2010 Senate campaign. In these chapters the reader gets a complete understanding of what it is like to be in a political campaign, especially as he talks about the necessary compromises between the political life and the personal life. What is refreshing and a bit surprising is that many times throughout the book he is honest and forthright.  He freely admits failures and mistake, and that at times, wishes he had done things differently: from not realizing in his early political days that he his best advisor was his wife Jeanette, to erroneously using a Republican Party credit card for personal expenses.

A very touching moment in the book is when he discusses his father’s struggle with cancer and his ultimate death.  Anyone who was close to a parent and lost them will be greatly affected.  An emotional quote, “It is a natural part of life when children become their parents’ caretakers, though it might not seem natural at the time…It’s harder still to become accustomed to the loss of someone you had so long depended on, who had loved you without limit…It was hard to believe he was gone.”

He does not shy away from the issues and tries to explain his thought process.  He discusses his opposition to the Dream Act; yet, at the same time commenting that he would have entered America illegally to give his family a better life.  He also gives his views on the Arizona immigration law, offshore oil drilling, and his support of English as the common language since it is “based on our history…and is necessary for economic progress and social assimilation.”

Anyone who was not a fan of Senator Rubio before this book will be one after reading An American Son.  He explains his story in an insightful and candid way.  Through his own journey he points out that anyone can have a better future if America returns to the Founding Father’s principles.

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