"Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream," by Adam Shepard is Coastal Carolina University's 2009 "Big Read." Incoming freshmen will read the book in preparation for the fall semester, and the author will visit the campus on Sept. 28 to talk to students about his experiences.
The "Big Read" is a summer reading program designed to encourage intellectual dialogue between students, professors and the University community. Since it was initiated in 2004, its purpose has been to create a singular introductory learning forum across various disciplines, and to facilitate creative and critical thinking on a common theme.
"Scratch Beginnings" is a recollection of Shepard's adventures in Charleston, following his college graduation. Prompted by his frustrations with "the poor attitudes that seem to have swept over my peer group," he decides to test the vitality of the American dream. Shepard begins his journey with only one 8-by-10-foot tarp, a sleeping bag, an empty gym bag, $25, and the clothes on his back. His goal is "to find out if the American Dream is still alive, or if it has, in fact, been drowned out by the greedy and the lazy."
Over the course of one year, the author strives to become a productive member of society. His goal is to obtain an operable vehicle, a furnished apartment, $2,500 in cash and be in a position to continue improving his place in society by either going to graduate school or starting his own business. This is a story about the attitude of success.
"Scratch Beginnings" is Shepard's first book. He graduated from Merrimack College in 2006 with a degree in business management and Spanish. He lives in Raleigh, N.C.
Books that have been selected for "Big Reads" in the past include: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon; "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood" by Marjane Satrapi; "Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916" by Michael Capuzzo; and "Goat: A Memoir" by Brad Land.
For more information call 843-349-2473, or go to www.coastal.edu/fye.