David Pruitt is a first-generation college graduate from UNC-Greensboro and previously served on the advisory board for their Bryan School of Business. A licensed CPA and a member of the AICPA and NCACPA, David started his business career in an entry-level accounting position before advancing to first CFO, then CEO, of Performance Bike, for a time the largest cycling retailer in the United States. As a senior leader in the U.S. bicycle industry, he served on the board of “People for Bikes,” a national organization with 1.3 million members that works to make riding a bicycle in America safer, easier to access, and more fun. He is an avid reader, a happily married husband for over thirty years, and a proud father of two successful children. He currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

David retired from corporate America in 2016 and began writing Relative Distance. His early life as an abused child taught him how to overcome obstacles and his successful career as a senior executive taught him how to lead and communicate effectively as a writer and speaker. He has a passion and ability to not only tell his story but to help adults, young and old, who were abused as children to live the lives they want, not the ones forced on them.

That’s what Relative Distance is all about: survival, overcoming obstacles, and finding the strength within yourself to get where you want to be.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Uplifting memoir… Pruitt’s bootstrapping mentality should appeal to fellow boomers, particularly those of faith.Publishers Weekly

Relative Distance is a powerful and masculine memoir of resilience and faith. While it’s an unflinching look at brothers being raised by a violent, abusive father and a detached, mentally ill mother, it’s also an inspiring account of two distinctive life journeys and an examination of the role played by family and society in individual homelessness. 

After surviving his tumultuous upbringing, David Pruitt rises to become a CEO in Corporate America, while his brother, Danny, becomes a homeless traveler. As David helps to grow a fledgling North Carolina business into what is at the time the largest specialty bicycle retailer in the United States, Danny sleeps under overpasses, jumps passing freight cars, lives in and out of shelters, faces death more than once; and encounters the best and worst of America in a restless search to find a better place in the world. Yet, despite their differences, a common thread runs through the distinct trajectories of the brothers’ lives: each of them struggles with difficult psychological issues stemming from their troubled past. 

This deeply moving memoir examines the lifelong challenges that often come for those raised in an abusive home, along with the limitless possibilities we open ourselves to when we allow faith and determination to overcome judgment and fear. 

STATS

(childhelp.org)

  • A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the United States
  • Over 4.3 million children are reported to child protection agencies each year 
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children
  • 14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, which is about twice the frequency seen in the general population. This means that roughly 25-30 million adults living in the U.S. today were abused in some manner, either verbally, sexually, violently or neglect etc. as children. AND very few of them ever talk about it but live with it in silence – like David did for years
  • Children who experience child abuse and neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity
  • The estimated U.S. economic burden of child maltreatment based on 2015 investigated incident cases (2,368,000 nonfatal and 1670 fatal victims) was $2 trillion
  • In one study, 80% of 21-year-olds who reported childhood abuse met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder

TIMELY TIE-INS

November

  • National Homeless Youth Awareness Month
  • National Life Writing Month
  • National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week: 12-20
  • Pursuit of Happiness Week: 13-21

TALKING POINTS 

  • Nature vs. Nurture: Why/How do siblings who are raised by the same parents, under the same conditions, and who are treated similarly in their youth, have their lives go in such different directions? 
  • Homelessness: Based on stories told by his brother, David can discuss how issues like early family life, the implications and proliferation of mental illness, and the reaction to and treatment of the homeless by American society contribute to homelessness and how hard it is on a sibling who wants to help
  • What are ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences?
  • How Relative Distance captures the almost immediate implications on the trajectory of a child’s life who’s caught in a dysfunctional family environment
  • Five Things an Abused Child Needs to Discover: David can speak to how he found the strength to do what he had to do for himself and his family, and what that can mean to an abused person, a victim of ACE. Five Finds: things an abused child needs to discover in life to have a more decent shot at a productive future 
  • Finding Purpose: David can speak to the importance of faith and perseverance for those trying to find their life’s purpose in the aftermath of a difficult upbringing 
  • Holiday season: the stress it sometimes causes being with family or not getting to be with family (if you have a family member that’s “lost”)

ADVANCE PRAISE

“One man’s journey of faith and restorative resilience… By the time you finish the final chapter, you will admire the author’s courage in sharing this narrative; it is a message of hope for all those struggling to overcome the circumstances of their lives.”
The Epoch Times

“With hundreds of books published each year intending to show readers a path to self-help, first-time author David Pruitt’s remarkable memoir Relative Distance, provides a well-marked alternative passage to personal discovery and growth. Everyone, no matter where they are along life’s journey, will find within this superbly crafted narrative, something enlightening and uniquely relevant to their lives—while being touched in ways that are totally unexpected but deeply resonant.”
Tom Tolworthy, former COO of Barnes and Noble and former CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe 

“David Pruitt’s brave and beautiful memoir, Relative Distance, teaches us about the miraculous resilience of the human spirit. But it’s the book’s generous compassion that makes it singular, offering something to each of us, no matter our circumstances.”
—Aran Shetterly, author of The Americano and the forthcoming book, Morningside

“Powerful! Buy it. Read it. Understand the real roots of homelessness!”
—Judith Knotts, homeless advocate and author of You Are My Brother: Lessons Learned Embracing a Homeless Community

“This is both a memoir and an instructional journey about overcoming abuse, building courage, developing determination, finding mentorship in life, and uplifting yourself out of darkness through faith. The CEO of a large bicycle retailer, Pruitt’s trade is a fitting metaphor for this compelling story: he develops his personal protective gear, adjusts his speed when approaching bumps in the road, and finally breaks the cycle of abuse while taking the reader on a safe ride towards hope.”
—Sara O’Meara, Childhelp Co-Founder & CEO, and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp Co-Founder & President         

“First-time author David Pruitt has crafted a stunning memoir that is at once beautifully written, insightful and thought-provoking. It is storytelling at its very best and a message of hope for all who have traveled a difficult road.”
—Trish Lockard, co-author of Make a Difference with Mental Health Activism, certified instructor for Family-to-Family, the flagship program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), memoir editor and writing coach