“When I first cracked open Never Settled, I did it mainly as a favor to a friend. However, this memoir quickly drew me in and I found myself engulfed in the narrative. I kept thinking to myself, “How can one person go through so much and not be angry at the world? Or at God?” I appreciate Shawn’s candor and authenticity as he shares his story. But even more than that—I am thankful for the reminder that there is no such thing as a story too broken for God to redeem. You will find such a story in the pages of this book!” – Jeremy Hudson, Pastor, Fellowship Church
“Childhood for many is a blissful time of discovery, familial love, and security. However, Shawn’s early and teen years were characterized by mental and physical abuse, confusion, and running away. He didn’t run away—his whole family did, time after time. Shawn never knew from one day to the next if he would be forced to pack up all his belongings at a moment’s notice and get in the car with the rest of his family to head out to unknown destinations or if he would be the target of his father’s rage and blame. Later, as an adult, Shawn knew he had to look to another Father for healing, support, and forgiveness. Readers will be glad that Shawn D. Congleton never settled for a life like the one in which he grew up. Now his story can give hope to hearts that are looking for a chance to be loved and to belong.” – Tanya Anderson, award-winning author and editor
“Never Settled is a moving memoir written by Shawn D. Congleton. As a reader, you’ll experience first hand the struggles of a young man striving towards a way out of his tumultuous situation. There’s a wave of emotion as you see young Shawn battle parental guidance, poverty, a nomadic lifestyle, tragedy, and a fear of what the future may hold. Open this book, and get lost in a lifestyle that at times seems surreal and other times seems like a chapter out of your own story.” – Michelle Carn, Educator
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this memoir. This book, more than most others, was able to reach all five senses! It took me back on a nostalgic journey of childhood memories that I had previously tucked away. I found myself relating fully to not only the stories, but the time period as well. It is a relatable story of struggle, grit, determination and triumph rolled into one that is fun to read and insightful to remember.” – Todd Buck, Educator
“In a beautifully raw and compassionate way, Shawn invites us into his painful, yet hopeful story. Through his willingness to process the pain of his childhood, we are also able to experience with him the power of redemption. I really appreciated Shawn’s candor, and his ability to tell his story with a genuine openness. Family can be the means of our greatest joys or the place of our deepest pain. To anyone who dares to look back in order to be able to finally move forward, I recommend this memoir.” – Chris LeMaster, LPC
“Shawn has been on a journey most of his life. Never Settled — a reflection of the challenges children face when being uprooted time and time again — is set within a spiritual journey of acceptance, understanding, and ultimately forgiveness. Shawn D. Congleton’s memoir is about a boy who is never fully settled because of geographical moves and poor decisions, but it is also an attempt to come to peace with the relationships Shawn shared with his siblings, mother, and ultimately his father. This spiritual journey is a nice read for those who long for agape love and the teachings of Christ our Savior.” – Terrence B. Sowers, B.S., M.A., M.Ed.
“I ordered the book and read it over the weekend. You are nothing short of one of the most inspiring individuals I know (or feel like I know) Have lent to book out already, and have talked it up. Good luck!” Joanne Neiswinger
“This book is a must read!! I started reading this and didn’t want to stop reading. I was amazed at what he endured. I’m so inspired by all he suffered in his life yet turned out to be such a wonderful young man.” — Janice Wallace
“I’m definitely going to recommend that book to some friends. My dad would probably like it too. He has a background in psychology and still doing a little work/studying childhood trauma.” — Marcus
“I read this book from cover to cover all in one sitting. Just couldn’t put it down.
Child rearing is challenging, but it does come with certain standards of practice of which their value is self evident . . . stability, reasonable expectations, setting an example, hard work, relationships, etc. This story is one boy’s journey being raised in an environment seemingly void of all of these. And coming out on the other side to choose a new way of life.” — Marcus
“This book was so well written! I felt like I was back in time with him going through his hard, crazy life. Definitely my new favorite book.” — Jordan
“A great read of interpreting your past, and choosing to live something different. This book is inspirational, and a way to live a life of purpose when you say so!” — Jacqueline
“Really enjoyed this book, hard to fathom a life Shawn and siblings led, but such a inspiring story as he overcame so much. A must read book!” — Nucky’s Bud
“This is a must read. Imagine always being the new kid in school when school is the only escape you have. Imagine moving constantly, no friends, no destination. This book takes you on a journey that will amaze & astound you. Well written & fast paced.” — Cat Astrophe
“Never Settled is a book that once you start it, it is hard to put down. Every chapter seems to end as a cliff hanger leaving you in suspense as to what lies ahead. The story is unbelievable and incredible! There is adventure, hardship, new beginnings, heartache, love, hope and forgiveness. A must read!!” — Heidi
“I bought the book and have only a couple chapters left to read..I went to high school with the author’s dad…he was such a sweet young guy…I also know several boys who went to Vietnam and came back totally different people..what an amazing man Shawn has become going thru those so very difficult years…God bless him and all of his family, and congrats on a book well written. He is truly an inspiration for many others.” — Christine
“Wow! If you like the story of an underdog, you’ll love this. The story of a kid who never gave up, when most others would time and time again. It was heartbreaking, but aren’t the best stories? And in the end, a true story of redemption and forgiveness.” — Brittany Fry
“As I read “Never Settled”, it brought out a variety of emotions in me. It brought tears and actually made me angry at times, yet put a smile on my face with the challenges this young boy experienced; and then the success he had overcoming some very difficult times. But most importantly, I found this to be a personal and very inspirational story of a frightened but strong willed youngster having to grow up too fast. I highly recommend reading this book, it’s hard to put down once you start.” — Chris
“I have to confess that as I began reading this book I was disturbed. It seemed somewhat like hanging out dirty laundry for the public to see. Then, I became fascinated by the toughness of the Congleton children. While there seemed to be many reasons why the older children should give up on life; they tougher it out. Their endurance, no doubt, led to determination to build better lives, marriages and homes for themselves. Instead of seeing their father as a model for future behavior, they broke the mold and revolted against becoming like him. I was particularly impressed by the way the author demonstrated his reconciliation with the sins of his father. He has given us a good example of how we might overcome struggles when living in a dysfunctional family.
I would suggest reading this book with anyone, especially those raised in or living in difficult family environments. I fear that many families might mirror parts of this family portrayal. It pains me to admit that I see the family of my childhood at times in these pages. Families who have little or nothing, as well as the families of kings, presidents, well to do and celebrities have similar struggles within the walls of homes.
I submit this review in the hope that the book, Never Settled, will enjoy a wide readership. I encourage the reader to work through the darkness and pain you might need to endure. Prepare to be blessed by the bright sunshine and rainbow that you will encounter. Learn and grow in your own life and family when you have completed a journey that truly seems to be Never Settled. Thank you Mr. Shawn Congleton.” – Reuben Trussell
“Shawn Congleton could be seen as an OVERCOMER. As a child, one of seven in his family, he rarely finished a school year in a single school, sometimes entering 2-3 different ones within the year. His family moved, at times, every few weeks. He and other siblings were physically, mentally and emotionally abused from an early age. The older children were to care for the younger children. They were responsible for fixing meals and keeping up the house/trailer because, though their father occasionally worked, their mother worked full-time as much as she was able, considering their gypsy-like existence. Ultimately, however, as Shawn tells it, Jesus Christ was his OVERCOMER! Rarely did the children go to church, though they would wait in the car when their dad went into a church to speak to the minister. Often he would return to the car with a place to stay, gas for the car and meals for the family. When he was old enough to leave the family, through God’s sovereignty, Shawn found the One who helped him to OVERCOME not only the pain of his upbringing but the hate in his heart toward his father. An inspirational read–not pleasant, but inspirational.” — Sheryl
“Shawn’s book was so easy to read! I am not a reader and finished this in 5 days. Shawn’s changed heart toward his earthly father is a true miracle of God’s work, you can’t explain it any other way! I was in shock of all Shawn had to go through in his tender growing up years. I was very moved and emotional to read about the amazing healing and forgiveness that has occurred in him! What an awesome example to us as Christ followers to forgive and love those that sin against us. You must read this book!!” – Emily