The turnaround in Dion DiMucci's life comes about halfway through Dion the Wanderer Talks the Truth. The opening chapters cover a little family history, his coming of age in the Bronx as a gang member, truant, and performer by age 15. In that period he also met Susan Butterfield, a constant in his life ever since (they married in 1963). By the age of 20 he had a series of top 40 hits and was, he writes, "a millionaire a couple times over." The story continues through the 1950s, the early days of rock and roll, which the author describes as a combination of country and blues. We read about Dick Clark's American Bandstand and the musicians featured there: Bobby Darin, Sam Cooke, Gene Vincent, and, of course Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. Dion, as many know, was touring with Valens, Bopper, and Holly when they lost their lives in a plane crash. The plane had only three seats, so Dion offered to ride on the bus instead of fly.
Fast forward through much questioning, breaking up of Dion's group, the Belmonts, alcohol and heroin addictions, a period Dion describes as the bleakest, darkest in his life. "I had a soul sickness that was killing me slowly," he writes. In 1968 Susan became pregnant, and Dion knew he had to change. The couple left New York for Florida, where they stayed with Susan's parents for a time (though Dion never had financial problems since he had inherited his mother's frugality). Susan's father, Jack, was a mystery to Dion: an alcoholic with 15 years of sobriety, "strong, Jack the giant, who showed me how to be little and weak, God's child, just as he was," Dion writes.
The remaining chapters reveal the intertwining of Dion's progression as an artist with his conversion first to Christianity, then Catholicism. Though some might focus on the celebrities mentioned here, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Gina Lollobrigida, and Yogi Berra, to name a few, they are incidental in the story of Dion's new way of being.