Sunday, June 30, 2013

Review: The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else's shoes?

Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.

A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters.

Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.

My Rating: 5 Stars!

The Boots My Mother Gave Me is about how one girl sets out to find herself only to lose herself along the way. It's about her imperfect journey to overcome her childhood in an abusive home and to find her way back to where she's always belonged.

Some stories make imprints on your heart. They leave you with the feeling that you've just learned a really important life lesson and you need to store it away safely so you can think back on it when life gets tough. The Boots My Mother Gave me is that story. First of all, I just want to say that I thought the writing was incredible. Brooklyn James really dug deep and stole my heart, no doubt! I feel like I know the main character, Harley, inside and out.

Strange how completely adeqaute a person looks on paper, yet how inadequate they feel inside.

I connected with Harley in so many ways. From her need to get away and be her own person to her desire to be something more and find that thing that makes her tick, I got her. This is a story for the patient readers out there. Readers that are looking for a story with a little more to it than romance. It's mostly a self discovery read with a romance in the background. That said, Jeremiah Johnson is very much present in Harley's thoughts and throughout her life, but you'll have to be patient because Harley is on the run. It takes her awhile to figure out what she wants, and you'll have to be willing to ride that journey out with her when you pick up this book.

When do you just give up on someone? That's the big question with Harley and her dad. She grew up in an abusive home and had to play the role of adult for most of her childhood. I felt like she spent so much time being the adult growing up that when she finally broke away, she had to have some time to be young and actually grow up herself. She's spent so much time detaching herself emotionally from anything and everything around her that she has to learn to flip that switch again and actually feel.

Contemplation is the roadmap to doubt. Mom calls me impulsive. I like to think I'm intuitive. If you think about something...anything...long enough, you can talk yourself right out of it.

Harley sets out on her journey and refuses to let anyone tell her how to live her life. She leaves her mom, sister, and childhood friend, Jeremiah behind. I got a little sick to my stomach when she left Jeremiah, but it was necessary. As much as we all love a fairy-tale-instant-happily-ever-after, that just wasn't in the cards for Harley and Jeremiah. She had some living to do. Plus, we all find our way back to where we're supposed to be eventually, right?

I couldn't wait to find myself, to life, to experience, and see the world through new eyes, the idea exhilarating.

Harley travels from town to town building new relationships and new dreams. She carries her guitar while wearing her mother's boots the whole way. One of my favorite things about the book was the songwriting. Oh. My. Goodness. I really think the songs touched my soul.

Can't get it right,
I'm always wrong.
Think I know what I like,
Then I want it gone.
Don't wanna be rich,
Don't wanna be poor.
Don't wanna be a bitch,
Or a nice girl anymore.
Complicated, aggravated,
Being me gets me so frustrated.
Wanna give you everything you're missing in your life,
I just can't get it right.

I held tight to every single moment Harley spent with Jeremiah. I admired how devoted he was to his Harley-girl. He was so patient and willing to wait on her to find whatever it was she was looking for. Even when they weren't actually "together", you could tell that have an unbelievable connection. Harley never let anyone in like she did just takes her awhile to live and let love. She's spent her whole life letting someone control her happiness and it's a scary thought for her to let someone else have that control again. She's constantly fighting off feeling vulnerable in any way.

I've tried to push you away. Talk myself out of you. Get you out of me. But it never works. You're just there. It's always been you.

This is really a beautiful story, and I just can't express my love for it enough with words. Some of it was tough to read because I became so attached to Harley. I felt her pain and totally understood where she was coming from. Grant it, there were a couple of times I wanted to scream "What are you waiting for?!" but when it came down to it...I got it. We all have pieces of where we came from in us, some good and some bad. We all have to figure out this crazy thing called life and it was a joy to see Harley do just that.

I'm a late bloomer, slow to grow, slow to know.

Harley had a forever friend in Miah and Brooklyn James has a forever fan in me!
Reviewed by: 
Brooklyn James

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