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My Own Two Feet: A Memoir Paperback – October 1, 1996


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My Own Two Feet: A Memoir + A Girl from Yamhill
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Series: An Avon Camelot Book
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380727463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380727469
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This second installment of the Newbery Medalist's autobiography (after A Girl from Yamhill) begins during the '30s, with the young Cleary leaving her home state of Oregon to attend junior college in California. The volume ends in 1949, with Morrow's acceptance of Cleary's first novel, the now-classic Henry Huggins (initially written as a short story entitled "Spareribs and Henry"). The author's unsentimental recollections of herself as a student in the Depression, a librarian and a newlywed are told humorously and candidly. Friends and adversaries-her ever-critical mother, formidable professors, congenial classmates, gentlemen acquaintances (including future husband Clarence)-are as colorfully sketched as the characters appearing in Cleary's beloved novels. Able to laugh at her own mistakes and to recognize universal truths in everyday life, Cleary will endear herself even more to her fans with this account of her struggle for independence. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up?This sequel to A Girl from Yamhill (Morrow, 1988) begins with Cleary starting college. The only child of Depression-era parents, she leaves her Oregon home to live with relatives and go to school tuition-free in California. Her vivid recollections of the various stops on the bus; her room in her aunt's home; and her many friends, including a few romances, are continued evidence of this author's ability to convince readers. It's all in the details. Cleary handles her own life well, giving it the shape that real life most often does not have, offering readers a sense of what it was like growing up in the 1930s, going to college when it was not common for women to do so, marrying and working during World War II. She also has those incidents that are common in coming-of-age books, fiction or otherwise: young love, wardrobes, defying parents, a first apartment, a first job (as a children's librarian). The book ends with her first book, inspired by her inner drive to write books for children who are not committed readers. So the book ends with a beginning. YAs who grew up on Cleary's books will find this one readable and inviting as they mature into young adulthood.?Ruth K. MacDonald, Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Beverly Cleary's birthday, April 12th, is celebrated across the country on D.E.A.R. Day, with activities related to the Drop Everything and Read Program. One of the most popular and honored authors of all time, Beverly Cleary has won the Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. She makes her home in coastal California.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Still, like I said, it's a nice read.
The Girl Who Loved Books
The book, itself, is written in the same simple but elegant style that her children's books were, and it's a lovely, breezy read.
Michelle Morgan
Reading Cleary's Memoirs, I was taken back to my own childhood and my love for Ramona & Beezus.
Sandra Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Wedekind VINE VOICE on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable memoir about Beverly Cleary, nee Bunn, as a young woman during the Depression and World War II. The previous reviewers were on target concerning Beverly's easy writing style and vivid recollections of her family and college years: traveling alone by bus from Oregon to California to attend Chaffey Junior College for two years, matriculating to U Cal Berkeley, studying at the U of Washington after graduating from Berkeley to become a librarian, marrying Clarence Cleary (her strained relationship with her mother because of it) and working as a librarian at the US Army's Camp Knight and Oakland Regional Hospital during WWII, writing and publishing her first children's book. Many B&W photos of family and friends are included. I highly recommend MY OWN TWO FEET.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By the cleary kids on July 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This helped me a lot for dates and events that I'm writing about in the genealogy of my mother and her brothers and sister who included Clarence Cleary (5 children). All the Cleary kids were all sent to California orphanages in 1917. They all had an very hard row to hoe and this book along with three letters from Clarence provided some great information that a nephew would never find on the various genealogical websites. Thank you both: Beverly and Clarence.

Page 114. Clarence, your Irish Grandfather you never met was Thomas William Cleary Sr. who died in Pembroke, Ontario on April 18,1904 six years before you were born. He was not Irish but Canadian born in Canada in 1836. His father and mother: Michael Cleary and Bridget O'Halloran landed on Canadian soil in 1833 from County Clare.

Until we meet again, may the lord hold you in the palm of his hand.

The Cleary Kids
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Mitchell on December 13, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After devouring Beverly Cleary's first memoir "A Girl From Yamhill" I couldn't wait to read My Own Two Feet. The only thing to complain about is that there isn't a sequel to this one! Picking up where Yamhill left off, we share in Beverly Cleary's journey through college and into her adult years and the writing of her first book, Henry Huggins. Reading Cleary's Memoirs, I was taken back to my own childhood and my love for Ramona & Beezus. Cleary has a unique gift of simple writing that readers of all ages can enjoy, whether you are 8 or 80. I lover her writing as much today as I did when I was in the 3rd grade.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved Beverly Cleary's fictional books when I was a boy. More recently, I enjoyed reading her first memoir "A Girl from Yamhill." Therefore, I just had to read her second memoir, "My Own Two Feet" which chronicles her life through college, her work as a librarian, her marriage, and the beginning of her life as a children's author. I loved it! It not only provides a wonderful insight into the mindset and character of its author; but also presents a vivid, sometimes very nostalgic, look at life in the 30's and 40's. It describes an America that has disappeared. A college social life that revolved around a seemingly endless number of dances and a strict code of decorum on how young women should dress and act. A small town opposed to the idea of having two married librarians since jobs were so scarce during the Depression that it was considered fair enough for just the husband to have a job. Also as a Catholic, I was amused by Beverly's parents' opposition to her marriage to Clarence Cleary simply because he was Catholic.
There's also some fun information for the fans of her fictional books. Readers will learn how Ribsy and Ramona got their names and what was Mrs. Cleary's original ending to "Henry Huggins." It's also interesting to note that the character of Ramona Quimby, which is arguably Mrs. Cleary's most beloved, was created simply as an afterthought to keep all her characters from being only children. I absolutely loved this book, and was disappointed it was so short!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of Beverly Cleary's books as a little girl and loved them. As an adult, I loved her autobiographies. This book not only described her college life, how she met her husband, and became a writer, but what life was like during the Depression and WWII. She described her battles with a difficult mother without being overly resentful. I am amazed at how well she gets along with kids and how she can write so well for kids, considering her own mother didn't really express her love for Beverly when she was growing up.
From this book, I could also see little anecdotes in her autobiography, which showed up in her books. She described how when she was a librarian and when kids applied for library cards, one kid mentioned that her dad mowed the lawn when asked what he did. I remember reading this as Ramona's response in one of the Ramona books.
Is Beverly Cleary still alive? She must be up there in years. At any rate, I loved her autobiographies, and when I have children, I will not hesitate in encouraging my kids to read her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fuat C. Baran on December 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
A must-read for all Beverly Cleary fans. Picks up the story where "A Girl from Yamhill" left off and takes us through her college years and her career as a librarian. A book that will inspire you to become a librarian or a children's book author. As well writen and accessible as all of her children's books about the gang on Klikitat Street.
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