About the Book:
Book: Free At Last
Author: Marcel Becker, with W.A. Fulkerson
Release date: July 2, 2021
Abused and isolated, Marcel Becker ended up on his own at the age of 15, and his descent into the cycle of addiction, crime, and incarceration followed the typical pattern. He became, in his own words, a “prolific offender” – an outlaw biker, a criminal mastermind, and the sole target of a multi-agency federal task force. When Marcel received custody of his children, however, he knew he had to make a change or the consequences would fall on them. Breaking out of his old life was full of struggle, uncertainty, and setbacks, but it proves that anyone who is willing can find true freedom and escape the dark cloud of the ex-con.
A United States Congressman once called Marcel’s life a story “of redemption and triumph,” and so it is.
I always enjoy a good memoir. It’s interesting to read what a person wants to tell about his or her own life, and what he or she emphasizes. When I see a memoir offered for review, I often take a second look at it. Free at Last sounded like a very interesting story, so I signed up for it.
Marcel grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks.” His father suffered from PTSD and took it out on his younger son, who found himself continually being beaten for no real reason. Though his mother loved him, Marcel left home as soon as he could find a way, and quickly became involved in a life of crime and drugs. Going into and out of prison was soon a way of life for him, and eventually the FBI sent a whole task force after him. Then one day, two of Marcel’s children were dumped on him by their mother. What was he to do now?
Marcel’s life changed nearly overnight, when he became responsible for two frightened children. He knew he did not want them to have the same kind of life he had always had; what should he do now? He began looking for honest work, and soon found he had to start at the bottom. He clawed his way to the top—only to find it didn’t satisfy.
I’ll have to say, I didn’t enjoy the first 33% or so of Free at Last. It is not fun to read about crime and prison life and beating people up and getting beaten up. Marcel did not go into too much graphic detail, though, so it wasn’t too bad. I appreciated seeing him become an honest working man and making good in business, but by the time I reached 78% through the book I was starting to wonder if this was really a Christian book! I’m glad to say that the change in Marcel’s life, and the candor with which he describes his Christian walk and the church challenges he faced, are inspiring. At one point, he says, “I stopped going to church. And in retrospect, that turned out to be a very, very bad decision.” I would say that if anyone had a good reason for quitting church, he did—and yet after a time he saw the need of fellowship.
Here are a few more quotes that stood out to me:
But to say that I struggled is to say that I was alive and kicking. You only struggle when you’re fighting against something.
Let me tell you something; freedom isn’t just roaming around doing whatever you want to.
And when you’re trying to do the right thing, that’s a breath of fresh air because you don’t have anything to hide.
If you are interested in hearing a man candidly telling about his life, the good and the bad, the struggles, the failures and the triumphs, read Free at Last. This book is inspiring. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure I would like it at all; I mentally prepared myself to struggle through it. It turned out to be very interesting, though, and a fairly quick read for me.
WARNING: Chapter 11—beating up a prison guard. Heck and dang and hell are used occasionally throughout the book.
About the Author:
Marcel Becker is a businessman, a designated community leader, and a motivational speaker. Once a five-time offender, Marcel turned his life around over twenty years ago, and since then has served on innumerable boards, political campaigns, and civil causes, finding great success in all of his endeavors. He is currently the Vice President of Propulsion Controls Engineering, a Job Force Motivational Speaker, has received several certificates of congressional recognition, has had two resolutions introduced in the California Legislature honoring his service to the community, and received a “Hero” award from California State Senator Joel Anderson for his efforts with the Second Chance Program.
Marcel shares stories of his life before and after taking the high road to success in order to encourage others to be the best they can be. He lives in San Diego, California.
More from W. A.:
If Marcel Becker sat down next to you in a coffee shop today, you would assume him to be a respectable, mild-mannered business man, and you would be right. What you would not think is, “I bet that guy has done time – and a LOT of it.”
And yet, he has. Marcel Becker was one of the most notorious criminals to come up from his neighborhood of Oceanside, CA during the eighties and nineties, when his activities landed him behind bars on federal charges five times. His activities also earned him a lot of scars, plenty of fear and admiration among the criminal class, and admission into one of the most dangerous biker gangs in the country. He’s done eighteen months of solitary confinement in a single stretch, been labeled a flight risk and an extremely dangerous martial arts expert, and the government tried to use his rival gang to illegally execute him. His nickname on the streets and throughout police precincts and prisons?
Flash. Because if you mess with him, he’ll knock you out immediately.
When Marcel talks about his past (and shows the newspaper articles to prove it), the experience is quite a rollercoaster ride.
To make a long and fascinating story short, at the height of his life of crime, Marcel became responsible for his two children, and he had to make a change fast. He started at the bottom as a grunt laborer on the docks, and eventually he rose through the ranks to become a majority owner of a ship repair company and a serial entrepreneur. Today, he is a titan of industry, a civil servant, a friend to mayors and senators, and a living testimony that anyone can turn their life around.
When I’ve expressed regret for a boneheaded decision I’ve made and some wasted time, Marcel reminds me that he spent his youth in and out of prison. If he focused on how terrible his mistakes were, he would never have done anything else. The message is, ‘If I can get past my mistakes, so can you. Move forward, hombre.’ I could give example after example like this – knowing Marcel is a real blessing, and he offers more than just interesting stories. He offers hope and encouragement, a reminder of God’s grace and the masterful plan of redemption awaiting us all if we will only turn to it.
You wouldn’t think that this man sitting next to you at a coffee shop was once tormented by an abusive upbringing, a brilliant master of crime, and public enemy number one.
But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?
- W.A. Fulkerson, Co-Author of Marcel Becker’s memoir Free at Last: Trading a Life of Crime for Family, Faith, and Success in Business
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