Vitaly

The Misadventures of a Ukrainian Orphan

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
386 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2022
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Author Biography

Vitaly was orphaned right after birth when his mother left him at the hospital, and he ended up living at an orphanage in Ukraine until he was 12 years old. From there, he lived in foster care for six years until he was 18 and ready to face the world head-on. From an early age, Vitaly knew he was different, but he had no clue or guidance to meet his true self then; also, living in the USSR times had its challenges.

Vitaly decided to write his personal story back in 2008, but due to work challenges and school, he did not finish writing it. He continued writing and gathering stories he remembered about his life in an orphanage in Ukraine over the years.

In 2019, due to COVID, Vitaly lost his job. He spent all that time reflecting on how his life was and committed to finishing what he started a long time ago.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan van der Walt for Readers' Favorite

Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick's alcoholic mother abandoned him after birth. Thus, Vitaly stayed at the hospital's nursery until he was old enough to live in an orphanage. Vitaly: The Misadventures of a Ukrainian Orphan tells the inspiring story of a young boy's search for love in a place where he is one of many, and their caregivers meet only their physical needs. He dreams of a family of his own. Still, when he goes to live with his foster parents, he discovers that although life is better than in the orphanage, he still isn't truly accepted as family and loved unconditionally. We see the tragedy of people adopting orphans for monetary gain while giving only minimum care and little love to them.

Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick struck me with his zest for life. Even in his less-than-ideal circumstances and with meager possessions, he finds joy in the simple things in life. His curious nature often lands him in trouble, but this curiosity also enables him to excel in school, vocational school, and eventually university. I am amazed that Vitaly believed in God despite his circumstances and atheist indoctrination by the USSR and often prayed to Him as a young boy. He loves reading the Bible and strives to live a life pleasing to God. I gained the insight that what matters are not physical possessions, but the relationships we build. Vitaly also shows that who we become depends on our choices. People often took advantage of him, but he still developed a giving spirit, while his friend Serhij gave in to greed. Reading Vitaly was indeed an enriching experience.

Alma Boucher

In Vitaly by Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick, we learn that his mother was a petite woman of 38, who consumed alcohol every day. She was selfish and her only concern was to survive the pain of his birth. Where others see birth as a miracle, it was a gift of freedom to her. Vitaly means full of life or the one with a desire to live. Since birth, Vitaly showed that he wanted to live despite all the odds against him. He grew up in the Peace Hospital Nursery until he was old enough to go to an orphanage on Fastivska Street. He was 12 when he was fostered by Tyotya Valya and Dyadya Grisha. He later learned that Tyotya Valya only fostered him for the money and benefits she received. After being denied money from Tyotya Valya for his exams, Vitaly decided he would never ask her for money again. He realized he had to earn his own money and provide for himself.

Vitaly: The Misadventures of a Ukrainian Orphan has a very strong message about the importance of giving everything to achieve your goal. We see that Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick did not let obstacles hinder him in chasing his dreams, but motivated him to find a way to overcome the obstacles. Vitaly believed that one day his life would be free and full of the joy he knew he deserved to have. He wanted to stand out with his knowledge and good grades, so he learned from a very young age that he had to work for everything he wanted. This autobiography was well written and I would recommend Vitaly to readers who like rich stories with strong messages.

Rabia Tanveer

Vitaly: The Misadventures of a Ukrainian Orphan by Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick and Linda Forrest is the autobiography of author Vitaly Magidov written with care and diligence. An orphan who started his life all alone, Vitaly knew early on that he wasn’t like other people in his life. Living in the orphanage until he was 12, Vitaly learned the basics of life there and in foster care. Hoping to figure out what really matters in life, Vitaly soon learned that it wasn’t the rat race everyone kept pushing on him. It was the hard times of living in the USSR and growing up under very special circumstances that taught Vitaly there was no cookie-cutter life and he had to carve out his own path if he wanted a happy life.

I was surprised by how the story affected me. Instead of using fancy vocabulary and overly-descriptive imagery, authors Vitaly Magidov Kirkpatrick and Linda Forrest used simple language that your average reader could understand. This trick not only helped them in making the story approachable for all readers, but it also made Vitaly’s story more relatable. The narrative read more like having a conversation with an old friend than just reading an autobiography. Although simple, the descriptions were beautiful and took me back into Vitaly’s life when he was hurting or was simply excited about the simple pleasures of life. The photographs were a nice addition and made it much easier for me to imagine the author at any point in his life. The autobiography is divided into three parts, and each of them reflects a certain point in Vitaly’s life. My favorite was Into Adulthood because that was when he had more awareness and fire to live a better life he could be proud of. I loved this book!

Laura Wincent

Truly inspiring
When I purchased this book, I thought it would be another empathetic life story. Oh boy, how wrong I was! “Vitaly” turned out to be the best book I’ve read in years.
I always believe true stories are far more exciting and interesting than Fiction. Vitaly Magidov has nailed it with his brilliant piece of work “Vitaly – The MisAdventures of a Ukrainian Orphan”. While he details the struggles he went through, he captivates the reader – ignites courage instead of empathy, seeds strong will instead of self-pity. He takes the reader on a transforming journey. I wasn’t the same person when I finished reading, and I could feel the transformation. It’s nothing short of magic.
Vitaly has engaged in simple and plain language, and that makes it easier to understand. The first-person narration he has used makes the experiences and events in the book more intimate to the reader. I felt like he was taking me on a quick trip through his life. Vitaly makes the readers trace steps of his journey, right along with him. The photographs embedded make it even more intimate and interesting while adding sentimental value.
Once I finished reading this book, it left me with a warm and cozy feeling. I felt a moment of tranquility, and It made me think about how I should reshape my outlook and approach in life. I wish I had found this book years before, in my formative years that would save lots of sweat and tears. But I’m so glad I found it now. Highly recommended!