Pemberton's book Exit with Honor, Ronald Reagan's youth affected the development of his personality in several ways. He grew up in the Midwest where his family struggled to survive. His father, Jack Reagan, was an alcoholic who moved Ronald's family from town to town, pursuing success as a salesman. Ronald compared his youth to the "Huck Finn-Tom Sawyer idylls" (p.5). He was able to deal with his family's instability by having a powerful imagination. He was able to transform reality into a vision that appealed to him, and to "create little worlds that existed only in his imagination" (p. 5). Ronald's experiences during his youth taught him to distance himself from his father and even his closest friends. His quiet personality allowed him to create a barrier around himself, which was hard for anyone to be able to penetrate.
Ronald's father did teach him skills that helped him in his future political career. His father was "tall and handsome, he had a flair for the dramatic, a presence that turned heads, a gift with words, and a genius for telling stories." (p.5). Though his father never succeeded in becoming a successful businessman, he showed Ronald how to work hard and to have ambition. Like his father, Ronald later became a talented man who appealed to and charmed many people.
Ronald's mother, Nelle, taught him values, and held the family together. She "drilled into her sons the value of education, read to them at night, and took the boys to church several times a week" (p.7). His mother was an optimistic person who looked for the good in all people. She also "taught him to dream, and to expect those dreams to come true" (p. 7). Values, self-confidence, and optimism were important characteristics in Ronald's youth that shaped his personality and helped him succeed in his political career. .