It was not Derek DeCosta’s intent to write a book telling the story of his traumatic childhood when he sat down to write a foreword to a fitness book he planned to market in Korea. But when he began writing about his Korean roots, the dam that for years had held back a river of repressed memories and emotions burst, and The Moonlight King floated up from the tormented waters that flowed from the reconciliation with his painful past.
Born Yoon Sang Kyun, DeCosta lived a privileged life as the only son to his father and loving mother – until one day when he was five years old and his life changed forever. Innocence was soon lost, and the nightmare of the next eight years of his life began.
DeCosta describes in vivid, agonizing detail how his parents would divorce, and DeCosta and his older sister would be hastily sent late one night to the United States and adopted by a single mother in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The children are imprisoned and enslaved by the woman and her son, enduring years of every possible form of torture and abuse.
The book documents the harrowing process of DeCosta’s journey from the darkness of his childhood into the triumphant light of becoming a free man and a successful adult.
On the evening of June 19, DeCosta shared his message of transcendence through forgiveness and love with dozens of people during an author’s talk at the Elizabeth Taber Library in Marion.
“I didn’t write the book to write a book,” said DeCosta, calling it a form of release – a “cathartic purge” – a letting go of demons.
When DeCosta started the book, his words began to assemble shocking sentences, which developed into painful paragraphs, progressing on to bone-chilling chapters. DeCosta said he did not stop to read his own story until a few days after he finished it.
“That was difficult … to relive childhood,” said DeCosta, “in living color – with no buffer.”
Throughout his tumultuous life, DeCosta has been both a sprinter and a runner of proverbial marathons, and the readers will find themselves running alongside him, cheering him on from the sidelines as he tries to reach the ever-retreating finish line. There is relief when, finally, he does.
When DeCosta talks, people listen. There is an invisible light that emanates from his words of encouragement and inspiration as he speaks, and his message resonates on some level with the experiences of all people.
DeCosta’s struggle adds pathos and ethos to the insight, wisdom, and advice that he weaves into every page. Forgiveness and love are the keys that finally unshackle DeCosta as he realizes his own self worth and asserts his right to an important and meaningful life.
His writing style is poetic but easy to read, using powerful language and descriptive imagery to describe the ugliest of experiences and feelings. If DeCosta’s experiences are the thorns, this book is the rose.
DeCosta resides in Mattapoisett and he is a fitness trainer, life coach, and mentor. Seated inside the Taber Library that Thursday evening were some of the people whose lives have been touched by DeCosta. He has his own public access show on ORCTV called Become Your Own Gym, and he strives to assist people in discovering themselves both physically and spiritually in his own wellness program.
The book is not yet published, but DeCosta has donated several copies to the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Mattapoisett Free Library, and he plans to distribute the book to the surrounding town libraries as well. Visit www.themoonlightking.com for more information about DeCosta and the book.
By Jean Perry