Girl from Yamhill

In which I post about the most recent non-fiction book I read (#87).

I just finished reading the companion autobiography to My Own Two Feet, thanks to the lovely Katie W.’s generous lending of her copy for several months. In The Girl from Yamhill, Beverly Cleary recounts her early childhood through the preparation to leaving home to travel and go to Junior College — away from the influence of her parents, and especially her mother, for the first time.

There were small historically interesting tidbits that struck me this time, like her father straightening his razor blade on the inside of a glass in order to extend the life during the depression. But I found the relationship that she had with her mother the most thought-provoking. I have struggled with my own relationship with my mother, as do many of the girls that I know (with a few notable exceptions, of course.) It was clear that many of the incidents she remembered so clearly still hurt and bewilder her. They defined her life for so long, but clearly she was able to break free of the cycle and pursue her dreams and create a world of childhood that so many kids still inhabit.

An interesting pair of memoirs, whether you grew up on Cleary’s books or not. I highly recommend them. (Even if you consider your mother a friend and a fine woman.)