Jeff Noonan was raised in the mountain country of Montana in a happy home…until his father turned to alcohol and became a violent abuser. In early adulthood, Jeff’s globetrotting in the military did nothing to extinguish the pain of that abuse, but through perseverance, hope, and an iron will, he transcended his abuser to create a successful and fulfilling life. An extraordinary tale of courage and horrific violence, this memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and that through perseverance happiness can be achieved.
As a child, Jeff idolizes his father: a former boxer, park ranger, and congressional candidate. As the boy grows older, however, his father’s transformation into a full-blown alcoholic results in increasingly abusive behavior that involves, one by one, the horrific beating of his mother, himself, and his seven siblings. Life becomes a daily struggle, both physical and financial, for the boy and his family. After working as a laborer for several years, he is still in his teens when he joins the service to escape the abuse and provide an income to his family.
From Asian adventures and shipboard hijinks to killer typhoons and Hong Kong bar battles, he fights his way to acceptance in the rough and tumble world of a destroyer sailor. But you can never run from yourself. He is continually drawn back to Montana where his meetings with his father become predictably more violent until an epic confrontation where Jeff’s younger brothers emerge as his greatest allies. In the meantime, he is assigned to an entry-level position scrubbing Navy bathrooms. Through hard work and non-stop studying, he eventually becomes a Navy leader, supervising teams that work on experimental shipboard guided missile systems.
A sobering, visceral, and shockingly real portrait of domestic violence, the boy’s relentless drive for survival is nothing short of extraordinary. An uplifting journey to redemption and self-acceptance, The Long Escape sends an unforgettable message to the abused that there can be hope and love in their futures if they can find a way to escape.
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