Book Reviews

Book Review: Stabbed Ego

…by Luke S. Kennedy.


Stabbed Ego is the story of Luke ‘Punchy’ Kennedy. Born in Liverpool Hospital in Sydney’s south-west, he initially lived with his parents Ruben and Diane, and siblings Ruben (three years older) and Sarah (a year younger) in the inner-city suburb of Alexandria. When Luke was seven, the family moved to Hurstville in Sydney’s south. Luke’s father was a boxer and young Luke and his brother would occasionally hang out with their dad as he trained. Luke yearned to become a boxer but as an overweight kid, he lacked the dedication and motivation for the same.

From a young age, Luke describes himself as being self-conscious and anxious about others perceptions of him. He appears to have had an undiagnosed social anxiety disorder as a child. Luke coped with this fear by pushing the boundaries and doing anything he could to look good in the eyes of others. For a teenager, the peer group is the most important thing and Luke cemented his position amongst his peers early in Year 7 with a fight. One thing led to another and Luke was involved in a crowd that engaged in graffiti on Sydney trains and public property. He spent the next 8 to 10 years of his life continuing to tag ‘Punch’, get involved in fights, do drugs, binge drink and shoplift. Every now and then, reason would set in through his fears. But then, the drugs and alcohol helped keep the demons that were depression and anxiety at bay. Temporarily, of course. Much to his family’s chagrin, Luke continued to break the rules and almost lost his life. Twice. He was also charged on three occasions until he finally came around and turned his life around.

He started by losing over 40 kgs and involving himself in boxing. He now spends his time with his wife Jade, helping others turn their lives around through their gym Punchys Training and Nutrition. By the way, he only turns 30 later this year.

It was interesting reading this book and getting an insight into Luke’s past. I know Luke personally though not as a close friend. That’s because I train at his gym and attend bootcamp sessions run by him three mornings a week. Reading this book had me shocked that the mild-mannered jovial person I know had such a tumultuous past trying to battle his demons. It is also impressive to see just how he has turned his life around. When you meet him, there is no way you would even guess that he worries about what others think. But then, that’s how social anxiety can work sometimes.

I loved how authentic and open Luke was in his memoir. He doesn’t claim to be a literary genius by any means but tells his story like it is. The fears of others judgements resonated with me as someone who has experienced anxiety {and continues to do so in a generalised manner} and depressed moods. Unlike Luke though, I’ve never had a foray into the world of drugs and violence but that could be a gender thing too. His memoir highlights just how difficult it is for boys and men to admit they have anxiety or depression. Just how taboo it is. And how you have to prove your masculinity through violence. Most importantly, his book gave me hope for some of my clients. It made me think that maybe not all young boys who have had a brush with the law or who are violent are destined to futures in gaol.

I’m just glad that I’m on holidays and had a chance to read this over the past few days.

My rating:

Where to find it:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository

Until next time,


You Might Also Like