Thursday 12 March 2020

#BookReview — Our Teenage Years:Growing Up in a Small Town in the 80's (My Life #1) by T.J. Wray #memoir @TJamesWray

Our Teenage Years:
Growing Up in a Small Town in the 80's
(My Life #1)
By T.J. Wray

This is the first book in the (My Life) series. This book is about two best friends growing up in their teenage years in a small town. All the wild adventures and stories from my childhood, after my parents divorced and we went on the run for 11 years. This book includes my first job, girlfriend, prom, driver's license, my first car and many other first we all did in our teenage years. It's a fun-filled adventure about being a teenager, epic road trips and best friends. But really this book is just about LIFE. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. Please enjoy

"You can take a lot of things away from a guy. But you be well warned to not try and take his truck."

There are many wonderful anecdotes in this book that I could have shared, but this one really struck a chord, probably because after twenty-plus years of marriage I know too well how attached men can get to their trucks!

Our Teenage Years by T.J. Wray is a humorous, sometimes heart-breaking and disarmingly candid memoir about growing up in a small town in Texas in the 1980s. With a rich Texas drawl and a descriptive narrative that is somehow comforting and familiar, Wray has presented his readers with a book which is as abundant in detail as it is in content. This autobiography had me gripped from beginning to end.

By telling the story of his teenage years in a relaxed and informal way, made this book an incredibly personal experience. Instead of reading the words, I felt as if I were sat outside on a cool evening, listening to Wray recount his life. This intimate feel not only made this book immensely readable but a thoroughly enjoyable experience as well. Our Teenage Years is so compelling that I found it next to impossible to put down. One more page became one more chapter. This is the kind of book that one would forsake sleep to finish.

Wray has captured the very essences of the 1980's, and although the 80s seems but a distant past to many of us, myself included, it was a very different time to the one we live today. The freedom that teenagers had back then is depicted with beauty and elegance. Such freedoms meant that Wray and his best friend, Terry, often found themselves in troublesome situations — whether it be arguments settled with fists in school, or hopping over a fence to do a spot of illegal fishing on private property. 

Wray is very open about the abuse he endured as a young child, both physical and mentally, which at times makes for some challenging reading. But his honesty gave this book a keen sense of authenticity. However, his story is also remarkably uplifting. Wray has not allowed himself to become bitter, nor does he blame others for how his life turned out. Wray is undoubtedly one of those people whom when thrown a curveball, has the determination as well as the mentality to face such a difficult pitch head-on. He is never thwarted nor discouraged. He is forever striving to make a better life for himself.

Coming from a poverty inflicted home, Wray describes how very keen he was to earn money from a young age. He also speaks of how he refused to shy away from his responsibilities. His determination to always do the right thing and his frank and remarkably honest confessions when he fell short of what he expected from himself was very humbling. This story is also one that a younger generation could undoubtedly take something from. Wray's little snippets of advice throughout this book gives his story a rather fantastic role-model mentality for future generations, especially for those young adults whose situation mirrored his. Wray does not use this biography to lecture, he doesn't say you mustn't do this, but he does encourage the reader to think about their actions before they commit to a path of destructive behaviour.

Wray wanted to honour his friend, Terry, in this book, and he has done so with skill, diligence and humour. I think Terry, if he were still alive, would be very proud of how he was portrayed in Wray's autobiography. 

There is a sense of sentimental longing in Wray's story, which I think resonated with me. I thought this book was absolutely fabulous, and I cannot wait to read Book 2 and find out more about this fascinating man and his life.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
Our Teenage Years

T.J. Wray

I am a single dad with two kids. I am currently working on my next book. I own and operate a tow truck for a living. My kids are my whole world, everything evolves around them. I like to work out and go fishing. Or take my kids to a ball game. I restore old muscle cars in my spare time. Also, I love to ride my motorcycle and read books.

Connect with TJ: WebsiteTwitterLinkedIn.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx