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Michael Reagan: On the Outside Looking in Hardcover – April 1, 1988
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Caught between two families, the Reagans and Jane Wyman, but feeling that he doesn't belong to either one, Michael Reagan takes the reader through a gut wrenching childhood of presumed privilege which often works against him and which is filled with thoughts of loneliness, unworthiness, and the constant fear of not being wanted; all as seen through the eyes of a child. One can only wonder how many other adopted children have shared these feelings. Then, even when he begins to feel that he might belong and that he is really wanted, he is once again put down. Brought home from boarding school and expecting his own room he is instead made to sleep on the couch so a servant can have a room of her own. Then it's back to boarding school; with more loneliness and fear.
To make matters worse, Michael is molested as a child and the child molester goes so far as to take nude pictures of him. This brings further shame, a sense of unworthiness, fear of being a homosexual, and a long-standing fear that he will be exposed bringing shame to his family. It might have helped if he had been able to tell someone, but how many children would be able to do that. Instead, he lived with it untold until this book was written.
In looking at all the characters in this book it seems impossible to say who, if anyone, was really at fault, or if they all just got caught up in something over which they had no control. In my view, though, by sharing his story with such brutal honesty, Michael Reagan has done a service not only to himself, but to his family and to the country at large. I've always admired him. I admire him even more after reading this biography. As a matter of fact, I couldn't put it down...
I stayed up nights after work reading it and am glad I did.
P.S. - Jane Wyman had to wrestle with her own insecurities...but that is another story... Jane Wyman, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan were blessed to have Michael as their son and stepson. I bet they all knew that, too!