What can I say about Making It by Jay Blades, except wow! What a brilliant insight into the life of such an inspirational and wonderful person.
Reading this honest and brave memoir felt like an open journey through the good and bad times of an incredibly relatable and talented person who made mistakes but found redemption in helping others.
In my opinion, a few things were apparent in Jay’s excursion through the challenges of life; he was a charismatic and confident person who was quick to adapt to his shifting environment. This meant that he managed to gel with everyone. I think this is a significant point and ultimately led to many of the successes he gained. Yes, it was a hard road, but he walked it bravely and got some help along the way from some outstanding and selfless people.
Although his experiences deeply impacted him as a child, and he was enormously let down by his school and his father, he was resilient in not becoming his father or living up to the low expectations of his inadequate school teachers.
It seemed like all the doors that were closed to him in his troubled youth were opened for him later in his life. And I genuinely believe this was a return on his investment. I live in High Wycombe, the old market town, where Jay and Jade started Street Dreams and Out of the Dark. I was exposed to the team’s work and witnessed the immense impact it had on the community. So it is only fair that his efforts and struggles in helping others paid him back in happiness, direction and success.
When I first met Jay, I was in my late teens, and immediately, I knew this guy could find a way to move mountains. I saw an argument irrupting between two gangs of youths, and Jay was in there like a rocket. They respected him so much that it was diffused in moments. He was a no-nonsense kind of block and had earned everyone’s respect.
I am so glad and grateful that he was courageous enough to share his thoughts and experiences with the world. Jay exposes racism, prejudice and injustice on so many different levels. In addition, he provides awareness of the lack of opportunity for ethnic minorities through his own story and experience. For me, Making It is more than an entertaining memoir of a strong black man who struggled to get away from the life he is expected to live; it is a powerful history book that should be studied in schools.
Jay is a true inspiration for others, and this was his story.