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Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family Hardcover – October 9, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
In my experience, as both a writer and memoir workshop leader, if a memoir isn't honest, candid, and courageous, it's just fiction. Cheney's book is definitely not fiction; it's what a memoir should be - candid, honest, and true. I know. I went to the same high school, walked the same streets, played in the same parks, shopped in the same stores, people watched with my parents on the same corner (2nd and Center), and cruised the same drive-ins. While that may seem to impart an obvious bias, I read Blue Skies, No Fences with a critical eye. The book did not disappoint me.
Casper wasn't, and still isn't, like anywhere else I've ever lived or visited. Isolated on the high plains, at the foot of a mountain range, Casper developed a unique character - half-Western, half-cosmopolitan. A boom town (and occasionally a bust town), it had an influx of energy, money, and culture that created a "can-do and it's your own fault if you don't" mentality.
Self-reliance was admired; success was encouraged. Individuals were judged on their own merit. If people harbored a prejudice, and I remember very few who did, it took second place to respect for an individual's character and efforts. Harsh winters and the omnipresent wind bred hardy people who approached life with a certain stoicism laced with humor. Cheney has deftly captured both the mood and the impetus of Casper in the middle of the 20th century.Read more ›
For those of us in Generation X it is a detailed view of our parents' childhood - a time when the world encompassed your neighborhood and being respectful to others - despite race, creed or color - was modeled by all. At times the books demonstrates how far we have come as a society - the treatment of an unwed mother in the 50's versus the lessened social stigmas associated today - and how much we have lost since the glory post World War II days. Television was not the favored tool for rearing children in the 50's, it was the tool to bring families together to observe national events and celebrations.
Mrs. Cheney's writing is entertaining and at times quite humerous. It truly shows the 50's were a time that boys and girls could become whatever they set their minds and hearts too. It is an emotional story where we can all feel loss for those who are no longer with us.
"Blue Skies, No Fences" is told in two directions. In one direction, Lynne provides the chronological story of her childhood and teenage years in a small town where everyone knows, or knows of, everyone else, and young people's lives are shaped by their parents, teachers, and friends. Lynne Vincent pulls no punches in her narrative; family and friends are described fully, warts and all, as is the era of the 1940's and '50s. Lynne Vincent was fortunate enough to be born a gifted child, and even more fortunate to encouraged to develop those gifts by the adults around her as she grew up.
The second direction of the story is Lynne Vincent's tracing of her family roots back to Europe, and the progress of her ancestors through generations and jobs to the town of Caspar. This portion represents some significant amount of research, and while it can get hard to follow, it is worth the effort.
Towards the end of the book, the man who would become Lynne Vincent's husband makes his appearence. This young man, quiet, intelligent, hardworking, and athletic, would attract her interest in high school. The closing chapters are about their friendship, their dates, and their senior prom. As it turns out, the young Dick Cheney was only one of several of Lynne Vincent's classmates at Caspar who went on to make their mark in the world.
"Blue Skies, No Fences" is very highly recommended as a well-written and thoughtful capture of a time and a place.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lynn Cheney wrote a book of her childhood that was wonderful to read about. My husband was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming so we had a lot of fun with his memories that were... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Carol Gordon
I am a lifelong Democrat, but that didn't stop me from loving this memoir. Lynne Cheney is an outstanding author, and this book is a wonderful tribute to her childhood in Casper,... Read morePublished on February 10, 2014 by Suzanne Amara
ALSO ATTENDED HIGH SCHOOL A COUPLE YEARS BEHIND LYNN AND DICK. INTERESTING THAT MY UNCLE WAS MENTIONED IN THE FIRST CHAPTER.Published on October 3, 2013 by WILLIAM NOELL
I just read this lovely memoir. I have been an admirer of Vice President Chaney for years but did not know much about either Lynn or Dick. Read morePublished on October 17, 2011 by John Greene
Lynne Cheney does a great job of capturing the feelings and atmosphere of the 1950s. She has a good memory of people and events, which are woven into a story that reads like a... Read morePublished on October 12, 2009 by Steve Kelly
I purchased two copies - one for myself and one for a friend who grew up in Blue Skies/No Fences country. Read morePublished on January 14, 2008 by JS02563
Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family captures the reminiscences of Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney and blends them with true tales of... Read morePublished on January 7, 2008 by Midwest Book Review