Testimonials

What people are saying about Mendel

“‘Love is sacrificial.’ The central theme of this book resonates with me most. I saw firsthand the sacrifices made for me being raised by a single mother. This story depicts perfectly how one’s high school experience can shape one’s future.”

—Ernie Young

Mendel Class of ’87, former Major Leaguer, Olympic Gold Medalist in 2000 Sydney Olympics and Coach of USA Baseball National Team

“A fantastic read! This fictional story gives insight into what some young student-athletes dealt with on a regular basis growing up on the South Side of Chicago.”

—Howard Griffith

Two-Time NFL Superbowl Champion of the Denver Broncos

Mendel, the story, pays tribute to the Catholic institution, on the South Side of Chicago that impacted the lives of tens of thousands of melanated youths of the inner-city and forever changed their lives, as indicated by the character, BJ in the story. Read it! You won’t be disappointed.”

—Nolan Lane

former professional baseball player for 13 years drafted by Cleveland Indians

Mendel by Damone Bester is an absolute must read. Though a fictional story, the main character, BJ’s interactions with classmates, teammates on the track team and home life is relatable for many inner-city youths today.”

—Ed Adams

Hall of Fame Track Coach, Six-Time Track State Championships, Nine-Time Indoor/Outdoor Catholic League Championships, Nine-Time Chicago Coach of the Year

“The very first chapter took me back to my freshman year working hard to avoid being tossed in that huge “P-shaped” pond during Homecoming Week. I graduated from Mendel in 1976 and BJ’s character is so real, he could have been any number of classmates I had there. Mendel was a life-changing experience, and so will this book be to anyone who opens their heart to it.”

—The Honorable Judge George Stephenson

(Minnesota, Second Judicial District)

“An extremely powerful story of a young black man, from his high school days at the prestigious Mendel Catholic Prep, where I also had the privilege to attend. Brandon -aka- BJ and I would have definitely been Homies.”

— Dr. Ramel Werner

Educator Chicago Public Schools

“A profoundly impactful literary work of art that moves your spirit to pursue its highest dreams. Damone Bester’s creative style masterfully conveys what makes Brandon tick. Mendel is a precious jewel for your reading collection.”

—Dineaux Hanson

Actor (films, television, plays-Tyler Perry’s: What’s Done in the Dark & Daddy’s Little Girls), National Voiceover Artist and Sports Announcer

Mendel is a gritty urban story with heart.” 

—Jenna Mattison

Director, TV developer, screenwriter, and producer (worked with Lionsgate, Sony, Samuel Goldwyn, Netflix, Amazon)

Mendel pays tribute to South Side Chicago’s former Catholic boy’s high school and its mighty Monarchs track team, but more than this, Damone Bester’s first book provides a compelling glimpse into a boy’s initiation through experiences of racism, gang violence, and disappointment to an understanding of redemption, sacrifice, honor, character, love, and the strong bonds of family.”

—Dr. Christopher C. De Santis

Professor and Chair, Department of English, Illinois State University

“It is quite impressive. Bester’s writing skills/story telling is amazing!”

—Dr. Ramon A. Pastrano IV

President & CEO of Impact Lives, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, PhD in Global Contextual Leadership

"An emotionally charged life experience, riveted with a huge measure of realism. BJ’s persona is a real exposé on the life that many young black men are forced to live. Teens, young-adults, parents, teachers, and coaches must get their hands on this book."

—Dr. Marilyn A. Tyus

Associate Vice President at the University of Texas at Austin, Certified Life Coach, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach