AMAZON BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AWARD QUARTER FINALIST
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.
©2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Brooklyn James (P)2014 Brooklyn James
This book fits nicely in the New Adult genre; with a little less angst and more real life issues addressed than what is typically expected. It’s a coming of age story focused on Harley from age 17 on through the next decade. Harley is a free spirit who longs to get away from her small town and her alcoholic, abusive father. Although she tries to make her way in the world by traveling and trying various career paths, her family-father, sister and mother –are strong anchors to her previous life and keep her coming back home in moments of crisis. For as much as Harley wants to create a life of her own, she is, above all, their caretaker when things get rough.
At the heart of the novel is her relationship with Jeremiah (Miah) who she has known since she was a child and whose friendship becomes something more. My main contention with this novel was how Harley handles this relationship as well as the others in her life. The author shines a light on certain people and then “drops them” and moves onto another situation without a resolution. I understand this is part of Harley’s personality but it made for a frustrating read. There are many times that we are privy to important information (when Harley’s sister, Kat, calls her home because she needs her help) then it’s years later before we find out any more information about that very significant incident. Could Harley be that removed from her sister after she sees her that there’s no real involvement with her for two years after that? I have a hard time believing that she could be so absorbed in figuring out what to do with herself that she hardly gives a thought to the other people in her life. Miah, her best friend, is dropped from her life for years –only thinking about him a handful of times (if that). I felt a very deep contradiction between Harley’s words of wisdom and her actual investment into the lives of the people who are important to her. I grew tired of her "common sense” talks to herself with no actual follow through.
This is the first time that I have listened to an audiobook where the author is also the narrator. I will say that Brooklyn James has a perfect voice for the character of Harley. She fully captured both her youth and vivaciousness. Although she read smoothly with a good, clear pace, I didn’t notice much, if any differentiation between voices. While there wasn’t an extensive cast of characters, it’s essential for an audiobook to have some (even if it’s subtle) differences in voices.
This audiobook did have several unique qualities to it. There was a distinct tone to indicate when Harley was experiencing a memory/flashback and again at the end of it. While this was a nice distinction I think that it could have been even briefer. I felt it was odd that so much time was given to signal when this was occurring, yet many of the chapters started with barely a pause between them. Another new listening feature was having Harley’s songs imbedded within the story. This was actually fun; most were very short and really let you feel the moment as it unfolded.
This story clearly has a good message-finding the strength to make yourself happy and empowering others to make a better life for themselves. While I felt the story lacked real emotional depth and I failed to really connect with it the way I hoped to, I did think Miah was wonderful and was amazed at his love and patience for Harley. All my favorite moments in the book included him and I appreciated the happy ending for both of them-but even more so for Jeremiah.
***A copy of this audiobook was given to me in exchange for an honest review***
In the audio version the songs included throughout the story were great I hope to see more audio books like this.
The characters were well written, they had multiple sides to them, none of the characters were all good or bad. The flash backs where simple and strait forward.
Listening to The Boots My Mother Gave Me was quite a unique and fascinatingly enjoyable experience. There were tones used to signal the beginning and ending of memory sequences. Ms. James also incorporated songs written and performed by her into the telling of the story. Those songs added to the telling of the story instead of being a distraction.
It was an amazing story dealing with many subjects prevalent in today's society, including alcoholism, physical and verbal abuse, PTSD, suicide and single partenthood. However, the basic theme of family and love wasn't overshadowed.
I loved Brooklyn James's voice to start with. I never had any problem knowing which character was talking and the volume was consistent. The unique songs were well done and played in integral part in the story.
If I could take any character out to dinner, it would have to be the main character, Harley. She went through so much and experienced so many different things in her life that it would just be interesting to sit down and talk to her...and maybe tell her to let the sexy, always there for her, Jeremiah into her heart officially.
I was given this audio book in exchange for an honest review. I think it is the first 5 star review of an audio book that I have given. Brooklyn James did it all. She wrote the story, the songs, she narrated and she wrote and sang the songs used. It was awesome! The story had me very involved with the characters and I found myself looking for other chores to do that would enable me to listen longer. Great job!!!
I listened to the audio book of The Boots My Mother Gave Me. I was addicted from the start.
Usually I would not advise an author to narrate their own audio books but as a singer and a professional in this business, Brooklyn could not have done better. This is an amazing story about a father and his daughter and the dysfunctional part of having a father that is an alcoholic and who was so tortured himself that he does not know how to relate to the people in his life.
It is a story of trust. It is a story of betrayal and a story of love. Although it has some romance to it the story is not about romance but about how failed relationships shape expectations for future relationships.
The audio book is a first for me in as far as it has a musical soundtrack to accompany it. These songs/tracts are sung by the author herself and it may not be for all but my one biggest complaint against the incorporation of these songs into the productions was this ---THEY WERE MOSTLY ONLY SNIPPETS -- leaving me wanting more. Craving more and it worked wonders to show the main characters naive notions on the one hand against her world weary well earned mistrust on the other. This was totally brilliant. The second and more important facet of this audio book was that the author wrote a true story in fictional context and her voice became Harley's giving the book a feeling of intimacy second to none. I stand in awe.
Now the main character in this book is Harley LeBeau. Her direct family and the boy next door Miah. All in all these 5 people are pivotal to the story but towards the theme of the story lies this basic truth. Parents teach their children via behaviour and the fact that Harley's mother coped with the abuse, the fact that her father is hot and cold in his affection. Physically and mentally abusive. Cognitively absent from the rearing of his children and the running of his household, all of these were crystal clear and achingly truthful in its telling of the story.
All in all, this is a story I will recommend to all. A story that you should, possibly must read...
It is a very enjoyable read in its genre.
The whole story is great! This is a coming of age novel, and we, the listener follow the strong, independent Harley, as she grows from girl into womanhood. As normal, through rite of passage, the woman she becomes is shaped by the people she meets and jobs she does as she moves around the country. However, Harley finds herself, despite her escape, being drawn back home to help her family with each emergency which arises.
And, waiting in the background is Jeremiah Jones, her childhood neighbour and sweetheart, best friend and lover, who joined the Marines the day she took off. Although they don’t see each other for years, the chemistry between them when they do, is so strong. He loves her unconditionally, and understands, and knows the fears she battles with after growing up in such a dysfunctional family, but will she ever commit?
This was a compelling story to listen to, wonderfully narrated by the author and packed with brutal truths about such subjects as growing up in an abusive home and alcoholism, yet a fascinating story which I could not fail to recommend.
I really liked the main character, Harley LeBeau. She has determination and courage and despite an abusive father and dysfunctional family like, she knew what she wanted and went after it. She is proof that no one has to let a difficult childhood and dysfunctional family be the excuse not to live life to the fullest.
Harley LeBeau, of course. If I could go back and relive my 20s, I would like to leave home and live for myself like Harley did.
Well, (blush) Harley's first sexual experience. It was sweet, tender and sensual and transported me back in time.
Yes, when Harley graduated high school and was leaving town, her father gave her a guitar.
No matter what the situation, Harley chose herself and her life. I think her story can be an inspiration to any woman, especially those who have suffered the same kind of abusive family situation.
Its in my top 10 for sure. This book will make you laugh, cry and everyone can relate to what the characters have to go through.
Hearing the author read the book adds to the story because she puts emphasis where she wanted it the book. It kind of brings the book alive from her perspective. I have also read the book and both versions are great. The other great thing is that you get to hear her sing the portions of the book that have music and her voice is AMAZING!!
"The Boots My Mother Gave Me" is a great coming of age fiction novel that any women can relate to. Harley's determination to survive hard times and constant need for adventure is something most anyone can relate to. The romance in the story adds to the plot while not taking away from the overall message. I was dying to listen to the next adventures of 'Miah and Harley when I finished the book. Finally, the soundtrack that accompanies the book is BRILLIANT!! Why has this not been done before? Check out this book and soundtrack. You WONT be disappointed.
"A MUST READ!!!"
I was given a copy of this book in audio format by the author in return for an honest review.
This is a very emotionally charged story that touched me deeply, and had me hooked from the first page.
Harley Le Beau is a very strong character. She has had to be, to cope with the verbal and physical abuse perpetrated by her father.
The one constant in her life is her mother, sister and her next door neighbour, Jeremiah Johnson.
Jeremiah (or as Harley calls him, Miah) Johnson is a wonderful character. He hasn't had a wonderful childhood either, but he is kind, honourable and gentle. I fell in love with him a little bit too.
Having previously read and reviewed this book in 2012, I was eager to listen to this story in audio format narrated by the author. I loved Brooklyn James's narration of the story and found her voice extremely pleasant to listen to. I also loved the songs and music, sung and played by her interspersed through the story, which brought Harley's character more to life. Reading lyrics to songs is a completely different experience to listening to them and how they are meant to be sung. They brought out a plethora of emotions in me, much more than just reading a story could ever do. I do love listening to country music with a catchy tune and great lyrics, so I wouldn't mind getting a CD or MP3 download of these songs to listen to on their own.
This older YA story is like a biography of Harley's life. It follows about 10 years or so of her life, after being thrown out by her abusive father. It is a very poignant tale. I loved the interaction between Harley and Jeremiah. It shows that love can bloom even in the most damaged of hearts. This is a very difficult book to read, especially if you have gone through something similar. However, this book deserves to be read, as Harley's voice needs to be heard. Harley's journey is full of ups and downs, love and hate, anger and forgiveness. The reader is swept up in the emotional roller coaster that is Harley's life. There are some really humourous scenes that made me giggle, but there are also some scenes that had me bawling my eyes out. Though there is mention of sex in this book, it is tastefully done and is not explicit or erotic in any way. Some of the subjects in this book are very difficult to listen to, never mind read, but Harley's journey in trying to find herself and what she wants with her life, combined with the love/hate relationship with her father, makes this book a MUST READ.
Brooklyn James has written a story that has stayed with me for two years, but listening to it reminded me how powerfully this book affected me. I love her fast paced writing style, and the flow was wonderful. I am now looking forward to reading her other books as soon as I can.
Due to the mention of alcohol abuse, as well as physical abuse, I do not recommend this book to younger readers, or those of a sensitive nature. However, I highly recommend this book if you love older YA, Coming of Age and Romance genres. - Lynn Worton
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