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Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  301 ratings  ·  58 reviews
An inspirational journey from tragedy to triumph

In 2003, nineteen-year-old Private J.R. Martinez was on a routine patrol when the Humvee he was driving hit an antitank mine in Iraq, resulting in severe injuries and burns on his face and more than one-third of his body. Out of that tragedy came an improbable journey of inspiration, motivation, and dreams come true. In Full
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2012)
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I first became aware of J. R. through the soap All My Children, watched him grow as an actor and then followed his competition on Dancing with the Stars. It is impossible to resist his infectious smile (which he says he owes to his mother Maria).

Knowing only the basic facts of his injury and recovery, I anticipated reading his autobiography and was not disappointed. His enthusiasm and compassion come through in the book; also the shock and despair during the early part of his recovery. I read al
Don't waste your time! When I read this book, I wanted to slap J.R. and his chronicles of girlfriends and poor father figures. When I closed the book, I literally spit at it.

From the beginning of this book, J.R. rubbed me the wrong way. He was cocky in describing himself growing up and I didn't appreciate his bragging about continually breaking rules--at home, at school, at Army Basic Training, in Iraq, and on and on. Yes, he was born into poor circumstances, his mom had a crazy rough life, and
Shawn Thrasher
Mr. Martinez will be appearing at Ontario City Library in April 2013 to discuss his book. So I decided I would read it in preparation for that visit. I don't think I would have picked it up otherwise. I was pleasantly surprised. I was able to finish the entire book without wincing or being bored. His experiences before, during and after Iraq were particularly interesting and moving. I wasn't as interested in his professional trip to Hollywood though, but as that is why he's able to write this bo ...more
I bought this book because J.R. has intrigued me since I first saw him on All My Children, which I admit I have watched for decades, and I was hoping for a truly inspirational story about this fascinating, charismatic young man. I did enjoy reading about his journey, but I felt there was something lacking. It was written simply, which reflects his lack of education and writing skills, but this also endears the story because it's from his heart and in his words. (well, almost since he had a writi ...more
I got to hear J. R. Martinez in person as he was a keynote speaker at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in April 2013. He is a positive, energetic person. He shared much of his life's story in his inspirational message. This book fills in many of the finer details of his life experience, from the struggles during his growing-up years through the explosion and aftermath which has changed his life.

He heroically and truthfully shares from his heart about the pain, anger, and confusion
I just finished reading this book, and am writing this through tears of joy. J.R. Martinez's book is so full of life, heart, spirit, courage, and strength, you feel it radiate through the book. It also shows the never-ending capacity of a mother's love. I truthfully admire his determination to live a full and normal life, in spite of abnormal circumstances; it takes a very special kind of person to be willing to put themselves on display to be gawked at, whispered about, in order to not only bri ...more
Carley Hamilton
I think J.R.. Martinez's purpose for writing this book was to show people that no matter what struggles you go through you have to stay positive, be thankful and do nothing but push for your goal. As a kid he had many struggles that most kids/teens don't go through. His mother and him were living paycheck to paycheck hoping that was enough to get by. He stayed positive and kept pushing for what he wanted to do, which was play college football.
The theme in this story is probably to "always stay p
This book tells the story of JR Martinez, who I wadi introduced to when he won the Dancing with the Stars Championship a few seasons ago. I liked him on the show, but did not really know anything about him, so I wax curious to hear his story.

I enjoyed the book. It's an easy read - in fact during the early stages of the book I almost felt like he was writing to a juvenile audience. The story got much more interesting as he talked about his life immediately preceding and after the injury. At the e
As a burn victim myself, this book has amazing insight through the emotional journey. I connected more than I expected. Many people in the world do not even know what burn victims go through, you just happen to notice us on the street as being different. This book will let you realize that in reality we are not different, we just have a rare, amazing story to share, and this book shares J.R.'s story brilliantly!
Mary Calkins
Loved this book...mainly because I think J.R. Martinez is so incredible! When I look at what he has been through, I really don't have any problems!
I heard about this book when I saw J.R. Martinez on CNN talking about the recent release of a US prisoner. I liked his honest approach and was interested to know more about his wounds.
At first this book was slow and to be honest, young J.R. was an annoying immature kid/teen who was constantly getting in trouble, but as he got older AND was injured, he found his stride and grew more respectful, sincere, and grateful. I was touched by his life story and his struggle to get back on to his feet. I
Victoria Waddle
You may know J. R. Martinez due to his fairly recent celebrity. In 2003, he was a nineteen-year-old soldier in Iraq. Only in the country for a month, and not yet battle-experienced, he was driving a Humvee when he hit a roadside bomb.

Martinez remembers this event in slow motion, saw his hands burning and then his face. When his fellow soldiers tried to pull him from the vehicle, his skin came away in their hands.

Martinez was a very good looking guy. He says that he was always afraid of Freddy Kr
This is a wonderful book, I had never heard of J.R. until Dancing With The Stars. I admired his ability to overcome his burns received in Iraq. He has such a positive attitude. But, in reading this book you learn that he earned that attitude the hard way. He went from being depressed and angry to being thankful and helping other soldiers in the burn unit to deal with their own wounds.

My heart goes out to all military personnel injured in the line of duty. Having dealt with some serious burn vict
Emily Yates
J.R. Martinez wrote a book called "Full of Heart." J.R. wrote this book to show people and inform people what he went through being in the army and also what he went through as a child. The kind of audience J.R. was reaching out to is wounded soldiers like himself and also people who had a hard time growing up.

The theme of the book is to look at the positive side of things and to not dwell in the past. J.R. was trying to say that even though he was burnt and went through all of that pain and suf
I loved this book and one reason may be that this young man is one of the most remarkable young men I have ever had the chance to encounter. He took what have been a devastating event that happened to him was he was serving our country and turned it entirely around. There are no words to describe how many lives he has effected in Dalton Georgia. We have had several famous or perhaps I should say infamous people come from our home town but he is the #1 that I am so proud of. When you finish this ...more
Alysia Verhagen
This book was tough for me to get through because in general I'm not too much of a fan of nonfiction and I really do not like reading autobiographies. To me they are always boring and to me the reason why the person writes them is to make more money by having something printed with their story. Nowadays people can find anyone's story on the internet, which I think sort of pessimistically about autobiographies. The only reason why I read this book is next week at work Mr. Martinez is coming to do ...more
Jasmine Holloman
Like most, I became familiar with J.R. Martinez during his stint on Dancing with The Stars. From episode one, I became interested in his story, which led me to root for him to the very end.

So when I saw this book at my library's book fair, it was no question that I would buy it. Sadly, it was not as good as I thought it would be. There is no doubt that Martinez's story is one of strength and perseverance that anyone can admire. Yet, in this book that is overshadowed by Martinez's consumption wit
What a powerful true story of strength and survival! JR Martinez describes the details of hitting a roadside bomb while driving a Humvee in the Middle East and his struggle to survive. The grueling days of recovery are filled with strong emotions, ranging from despair to joy. His fun-loving personality led to roles on All My Children and Dancing with the Stars. The reader will embrace his lessons of hope and optimism.
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I was terribly disappointed. While I feel for what he went through and applaud his courage, I felt like he came off as cocky and a rebel. While I cannot imagine th emotional and physical pain that he went through his attitude completely turns me off.
Holly Ites
I chose the book because of my commitment to Wounded Warriors Project. It's an easy read, good for taking on a trip. There were times I struggled with how I felt about J.R. I sometimes got the impression that everything in his life was just about him. About the time I thought that, he expressed it in the book. At other times, I felt he was a little full of himself. But, I guess a person would have to have a degree of cockiness to survive such an ordeal. Sometimes I felt he exploited his military ...more
Hema Penmetsa
J.R.Martinez's journey is one of courage and determination, but the writing in this book doesn't do it justice. In fact, the monotonous narrative, some of the incidents chosen to be highlighted, and the abrupt and unnecessary change in tenses detract from it.
Full of Heart shows a true act of courage, and how one person fights through pain and judgement. J.R. has a backround of struggle. After all he went through he kept his positive outlook. The real test of courage was when he hit a bomb while deployed in Iraq, This book has a great message to the reader. The chapters were satisfying. I would only reccomend this book to middle school and up because it has some mature language. This book is a great example of the auto biography genre.It is a good me ...more
Jake Stark
Full Of Heart by J.R. Martinez is a very inspiring story. J.R. was in the military and when he was only nineteen years old he was in an accident. This accident caused him to need over 30 surgeries to help his burns. He tells the story of his life before and after the accident and explains how his life has changed. He talks about how relationships have changed for him, but he never gave up on anything. J.R. stays strong and is now very successful. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested ...more
Very inspiring story.
Stacey Cimino
What an amazing story of everything that he had been threw.
It wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I was definitely disappointed to know how cocky JR was in his youth BUT, with that said, I think it makes it all the more remarkable that he has turned out to be the amazing example he now is. Glad I had the chance to read this. JR is my hero and it would be an honor to meet him one day.
Mary Fornelius
Great book. This is an amazing man who wanted to share his story.
Sandra WB
I really enjoyed this book! I watched JR on DWTS, was rooting for him all the way and was thrilled when he won! His story is very interesting to read. I feel it was written honestly without coming across like a Hollywood 'tell-all' and that shows that he has respect for others. I don't want to give it away so I won't quote it, but the wisdom he imparts near the end of the book is so true! He is an inspration and I wish him much happiness!
I first came across J.R. Martinez on the Dancing With the Stars show, and was impressed with his cheerfulness and goodness. When I saw that this book was available, I did not hesitate. J.R. comes from a poor immigrant family, and was horribly injured one month into his deployment to Iraq. The story of his grueling climb to recovery and his new career as a motivational speaker ensues.
Inspiring. I enjoyed it.
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In March of 2003, J.R. (Jose Rene) was deployed to Iraq, and on April 5, less than a month into his deployment, he was serving as a driver of a Humvee when his left front tire hit a land-mine. J.R. suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 34 percent of his body. J.R. spent 34 months in recovery at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas and underwent 33 different sur ...more
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