The Boys of My Youth

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A compelling web of personal stories . . . - Jo Ann Beard's book "The Boys of My Youth" is a thoughful collection of poignant vignette's about her evolution from childhood to adult. As you read, her stories subtlely weave their magic, leaving you wanting more. It's a book that, even in life's most busy moments, calls to you to be read.Jo Ann shares her most difficult and cathartic moments as a child, spouse, friend, and sister. She also finds a way to disclose some of her most personal stories with an objectivity lacking in most work of this kind.Jo Ann's book moves the reader from laughter, through her stories about childhood with her sister Linda and brother Brad, to tears when she losses her mother to cancer."The Boys of My Youth" is one of the best autobiographies I've ever read!
Touching, honest, brilliantly observed - This book is so moving, so painfully touching. I read it over a weekend and could hardly put it down. As I read it, I kept on thinking of friends that I wanted to lend it to afterwards, but the more I read, the more I thought, This book's not leaving my sight; I'll tell my friends they have to buy their OWN copies. Jo Ann Beard is so poetic; she doesn't so much tell stories as offer brilliant vignettes of critical times in her life. She talks to the reader like he or she's a second self; she makes herself extremely vulnerable in this book. Her memories of childhood are so acute and observed so perfectly through a child's eyes--like being at an open-casket funeral and only being able to see the nose and glasses of the deceased from where she sits. I nearly caused a scene on the bus reading the "Dirty Barbies" story, because I was laughing so loud. Being a male, I have never been given so much insight into what it's like to grow up female as I was given in this...
Brilliant, forthright, honest writing - A beautiful collection of autobiographical essays recalling her childhood, teen years, and the complexity of family life that continues to haunt her as she puts herself back together after her divorce in her mid-thirites. I was continually fascinated with her ability to hold together two different periods of times, juxtaposing two or more stories at the same time to give one an opportunity to see from varying points of view. In 'Cousins'she captures the essence of her relationship with her coursin right along side the relationship of her mother and aunt, and writes eloquently of her mother's dying process that is filled with both humor and poignancy. Beard shows her artistic brilliance in her essay 'Coyote' as she uses metaphor to describe her own life experiences with the life of a coyote. 'Bulldozing the Baby' is Beard's earliest memory of feeling both loss and betrayal. Each essay is rich, bold and forthright as Beard portrays aspects of her life with incredible...