Lowcountry Native Pens Book About Tumultuous Childhood

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The youngest son of the former mayor of Hollywood, South Carolina has published a book about the scandals surrounding his life growing up in the far-from-quaint little town with a larger-than-life name.

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Looking back, I knew my life was different, but as a child, I wasn’t sure exactly how, explains Gadson. But as I grew older, I started to realize that there were some crazy things happening in Hollywood.

Shaytee Gadson vividly and honestly tells his family’s life story in Hallelujah in Hollywood – A True Hollywood Story, sharing intimate details about his turbulent childhood, precarious college years and life as a single African American dad raising two young girls. Born and raised in Hollywood, Gadson’s recollection of his younger days captures your heart as he paints an uncomfortable picture of a young boy’s quest to understand the adulterous relationships, politics and sin that surround him.

He opens up about his parents’ relationship and unconventional marriage, his older brother’s addiction to crack cocaine and his sister’s inner strength to overcome the pressures of being extremely obese. Among many highlights in the book, Gadson sets the spotlight on his alcoholic father, Herbert Gadson, who rises from the ashes of poverty to become mayor of his hometown. Readers follow intently as Mayor Gadson constantly faces his addiction of alcohol, sex and power.

In his first novel, Gadson paints a picture of life surrounded by constant fire and brimstone, scandal and prayer. His mother, the town’s First Lady, prays her way through life while using every ounce of faith to try and save her husband and those in need around her.

Even though the book’s setting isn’t the popular West Coast Hollywood, it certainly has all the same characteristics – plots, drugs, politics, sex, characters and yes, even the press and attention. It’s hard to believe that a family can endure so much and still survive. But that’s exactly what the Gadson family did amidst their Hollywood life.

While selfish addictions and demons penetrate this Hollywood family, somehow Gadson manages to make a better life for himself and his daughters. His father couldn’t beat his demons and ends up being banned from the town where he once called the shots. His mother cheats the face of death more than once and Gadson himself shares what it feels like to have loved and lost – all while the power of his mother’s prayer saves him and his family.

“Looking back, I knew my life was different, but as a child, I wasn’t sure exactly how,” explains Gadson. “But as I grew older, I started to realize that there were some crazy things happening in Hollywood.”

It was with that sentiment that Gadson approached his parents to see if they would support him authoring a book about their life. They agreed and in 2006, Gadson started working on the first chapter. More than six years later, Gadson put the finishing touches on the book and went to press. Self-published with Charleston-based Createspace, Gadson is excited to share the story of his life and his beloved hometown.

Gadson says he made a few enemies after publishing the book because he was so open about particular details but says he has no regrets.

“Hallelujuah in Hollywood is my life. It’s me. I can’t hide it so I might as well share it,” says Gadson.

In addition to an inspiring personal story, Hallelujah in Hollywood – A True Hollywood Story sheds light on growing up in the South as an African American during the 1960s, including recollections of Mayor Gadson’s personal involvement with the Orangeburg Massacre.

Copies of the book and a Kindle version are available for download at Amazon.com. To learn more about Gadson and Hallelujah in Hollywood – A True Hollywood Story, visit http://www.hallelujahinhollywood.com.

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Jordan Freeman
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