Book Review: Lucille O’Neal: Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go

If you are planning on buying this book…….don’t!

I just finished reading Walk Like You Have Somewhere To Go written by Lucille Oneal, the acclaimed NBA superstar Shaquille O Neal’s mother. When I accepted this book to review I did it thinking it would be what it claimed…an inspirational and encouraging journey from mental welfare to mental health. What I found is a women who still has a way to go in becoming a healthy role model to young women, wives and moms.

I hate to be harsh and I struggled with writing this review. This is the first negative review I’ve written that due in part because I try to accept only products that I can endorse and I thought this book would be one….unfortunately it’s not.

I realized soon after reading the first few chapters that Lucille was not writing to inspire but to share her 225 page justification for her past and present behavior. She describes her grandparents, who raised as being harsh and unloving disciplinarians who forced her to go to church. She later describes the scene when her grandmother discovers that she has become pregnant out of wedlock while still in high school. Here is what she says of her grandmothers reaction;

The criticisms and negative comments that came my way via her and my father’s family were disheartening, degrading, and demoralizing, to say the least. I was made to feel like I had committed the worst crime known to man.

I’m sure this contributed to her decision to lovingly accept and not chastise her own daughter when she’d become pregnant while still in high school.

Here’s how Mrs. O’Neal responded to her own daughters pregnancy.

When you’ve always had babies in the house, you miss the laughter and joy they bring. I’d actually thought about adopting, since all of my children were in high school and beyond. Phil (her husband and the man who raised Shaquille since the age of two) completely ignored that suggestion-as did most of my kids, who thought I had to be kidding. But I felt that we had so much to share now, and there were so many children out there in need.

The part that really left me speechless was when Mrs. O’Neal went on to say that, “God was listening, and now I wouldn’t have to look outside our family for a new baby to love………what!?

I’m sorry Mrs. O”Neal, but just so you know, God doesn’t answer prayers in contradiction to His word. To say that God blessed your daughter with a child as an answer to your need to fill an a void within you is absurd and it sends the wrong message to say the least.

I disliked this book on so many levels. Nothing in it made me aspire to be like Mrs. O”Neal. I have actually been better off not having read the book. Before I started reading it my husband was telling me the story of how Phill had raised Shaquille as his own since the age of two. He talked about how Shaquille’s biological father appeared on a talk show to plead for a relationship with Shaquille. He told me of how Shaquille and Phil the man he called “dad”, had appeared in commercials together supporting father son relationships. This is why my husband and I were shocked when we read that Mrs. O”Neal had filed for a divorce from her husband of twenty-eight years of marriage and justified it by saying it was finally time for me to do what was right for her.

Never did she say that she was abused or mistreated by her husband. Not once did she say that he did not provide for her and their children. Mrs. O”Neal (formerly Mrs. Phil Harris) explains that she divorced her husband because she was not happy and wanted to be FREE to become the women she was meant to be.

I came away from reading this book with the opinion that Mrs. O’Neal had not gone from mental welfare to mental health…at least not by biblical standards. It’s going to take more than a regurgitation of her life story coupled by a quote from the bible at the beginning of each chapter to convince me. There were many times during the reading of Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go, that I wanted to put this book down and walk away from it, because I did have somewhere to go…and that was anywhere but sitting there finishing Lucille’s  book. However for the sake of giving an honest review, I read the book from cover to cover.

If you are looking for some juicy gossip and a great hard luck story, then by all means head over HERE and order a copy. But is you are looking for inspiration head over HERE and get it completely FREE of charge.

Now it’s your turn to chime in. Have you read this book? Were you intending to buy it? I’d love to hear your views. Leave a comment below.


Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this advanced DVD copy. I have provided this disclosure in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission: Click for details. If you have any questions or are unclear about the Booksneeze guidelines you can reach us them at:


  1. says

    Thoughtfully written review from a distinctly Biblical perspective. Well done!


    The Proverbs Wife Reply:

    Thanks Dana.

    It was awkward writing it. I had watched her interview segment on the CBN 700 Club and they had given the book rave reviews and called it “inspirational for young women”. Even as Christians we can have such varying views on what’s Biblical. At the end of the day what we do must line up with what the word of God says. And where we fall short we are able to repent and ask for forgiveness. The big disconnect I had with Mrs O’Neal is that she justified her actions and said that it was the will of God.


  2. says

    I know it is hard to be ‘negative’ about a product, especially something as personal as a someone’s book. But I appreciate your honesty. For someone as prominent as Mrs.O’Neal to begin chapters with scripture on one hand and condone teen pregnancy and divorce on the other is sad and even disturbing. I pray her morals don’t lead others astray! Thanks for your thought-provoking review.


  3. Niki says

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I love subscribing to your blog. So many people today are afraid to stand up and defend the things of the Lord. Too many people are even afraid to defend their own beliefs. Thank you for being a help. I always find it best to seek Godly counsel. After all that is what he tells us in Proverbs 1. I think I’ve found just that in your blog. I hope you have a blessed day. Keep on telling us what we need to hear!


    The Proverbs Wife Reply:

    Thanks Niki,

    Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated.


    The Proverbs Wife Reply:


    Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated.


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