Rebel from the Start (2023) is raw, real, and characteristically unapologetic.
This is Avi Yemini unplugged.
For a memoir, the redemptive recount is engaging, professional, personal, and relatable.
These four elements forge a kind of kinship with the reader.
While I never fell into the drug life as deeply as Avi did in his teens, reading about his choices, and hard life on the streets, triggered memories of my own.
Raised in a housing commission home, in a small, abusive, and highly dysfunctional family, I self-medicated with drugs and alcohol.
Like Avi, I spent a great deal of my teen years couch-surfing to avoid going home.
Similar to Avi, although I never served in the military, I come from a military family.
Add to this kinship, the book’s redemptive arch.
There’s a shared sense of awe at being blessed beyond words.
Like Avi, there’s now the beautiful wife, and large family I love, yet don’t think I deserve.
Then there’s Avi’s anti-religion themes which burn through his blunt recount of life in an Australian, orthodox Jewish family.
Although I was raised in a largely pagan home, I went to Christian schools.
Somewhere in that journey, I came to hate Christians, probably as much as Avi describes resenting the “religious bubble,” and its sterile legalism he says was strangling him.
Now, ironically, a Christian of 26 years, I can empathise with Avi’s rejection of legalism.
Where this kinship between me the reader, and Avi the author, takes an obvious, slight detour, is the question of faith, grace and all that sits in between.
On top of this kinship is the surreal, long-haul learning experience that comes from being part of replacement – or emerging – media.
Such as the fight against legacy media’s use of censorship to gag their competitors, and the quest to bring light to darkness; truth over-against falsehood.
This is Avi’s frontline.
Its foxholes fund the book’s brothers-in-arms familiarity.
‘A Rebel From the Start’ is readable.
The short chapters and chronological flow are almost seamless.
From trouble at school, views on religion, life on Melbourne’s streets, to drugs, homelessness, and rushed romance, Avi’s testimonial cuts through the left-wing media’s hate-funnelling hot-air.
He is no “Nazi.”
Alongside Avi’s four years with the Israeli military, and working within the heavily censored emerging media arena, his life (and recorded CCTV death) story is riveting.
His wife and paramedics may have saved him, I’d credit God for the miraculous, life-saving timing.
The autobiography’s strength is how it carries Avi’s writing voice.
I can imagine a national book tour.
A coffee house dimmed lights, and a calm Avi sits narrating to the Acronym Army’s “feelings trump facts” fascist cult, behind the necessary 10 inches of bulletproof glass.
He doesn’t need a marketing team.
The facts are controversial because they smash the media’s narrative.
Throw a live appearance in the mix, and the Cancel Culture jackboot promos alone would sell this A Rebel from the Start by the thousands.
What gives this work greater value is Avi’s openness.
Interwoven throughout the book are nuggets of advice for anyone starting out in emerging news media.
From Tommy Robinson, to the pro-freedom protests, both in Hong Kong, and during CCP-19’s lockdowns – something he links together with a question mark – there’s an understandable, careful vulnerability.
Especially about being a father.
Wrongly slammed as a “woman basher,” this once broken dynamo, and face of Rebel News’ Australia, is no deadbeat dad.
As Sydney Watson writes in the forward, “What is remarkable is not the presence of life’s inevitable problems, it is Avi’s remarkable ability to overcome them.”
It’s not often you get gifted an autobiography, and are then entrusted by the author to tell the world what you think about it.
I’m glad he did.
My biggest beef? He never signed the book before sending me one.
(Disclaimer: no money was given to me, or Caldron Pool in exchange for this review.)