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By His Own Blood Paperback – February 27, 2012
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About the Author
By His Own Blood is John Montandon’s first book. Writing it was a true labor of love for him; love of his father, “Doc” Montandon, love of his family, and love of his rural West Texas upbringing. Born in 1946, John brings to life the incredible story about his father, the way he died, and his own experiences growing up in the 50s and 60s in a sparsely populated, sprawling farming and ranching county with fewer than 4,000 residents. Anyone who reads his work should relate directly to his story and the lessons learned from this broad emotional ride from the whimsical to the tragic, with several unexpected turns of events that will keep the reader asking for more. Publishing his first book is a natural extension of his professional journey as John is a successful business owner who has spent his adult career in agricultural communications and marketing. He is a co-founder of several companies related to business media including magazines, radio and online publishing. John was also an owner of one of the world’s largest agricultural data services as well as a data processing business. Graduating from high school in 1965 in Knox City, Texas, he went on to receive an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics from Texas Tech University and an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. After living in cities and towns all over the United States, John and his wife, Karen, a banker and real estate professional, have settled near the beach in southern California. John’s office is in nearby Palos Verdes where he takes his loyal companion and chocolate lab, Rocky, to work with him every day when he is not on the road for business. Both John and Karen have travelled extensively and have visited China, Africa, Europe, New Zealand, and numerous other destinations around the world.
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Top customer reviews
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Miss (Augustine) Tennie was John's dad's sister. She took tickets to the Saturday afternoon matinee at the Roxy theater in Munday. She was, like John, a very pleasant person. I always enjoyed visiting with Miss Tennie before the show and she would update me on what John and Gene had been doing.
We left for college in 1965. John had endured much more adversity in his young life than I ever did, particularly when the family home burned. The book endorses this. It amazed me what he went through to get his degree.
Some parts of the book are so visceral and real that you can almost taste them. John describes the smell of his dad. He describes the aroma of the fresh crops. These are things hard to detail unless you have grown up in a farming community. My dad was an Old Spice/Aqua Velva aficionado himself. His smell would be prevalent before church and for whatever family social gathering we attended. The aroma before or after a rain on the crops made you take long breaths in order to savor that fresh, rare atmosphere. John captures the essence of this briefly, yet with enough description for even the most citified to understand.
When John's dad became ill with the AIDS virus, I remember my sister saying there was a rumor that someone in Knox City, a prominent person, had come down with the disease. The identity of the family was not known to her or anyone else in the Munday community......this just did not playout on the Knox Prairie of the day.
Well, it turns out that it did, and one of my best friends from childhood was involved unbeknownst to me. John tells the story of the hardships he had to endure trying to find a hospital for treatment of his dad. The unknown nature of AIDS at the time seemed to blind health care professionals & institutions of their mission to treat the ill and infirm. Fortunately, John had the good sense to call his alma mater, Texas Tech, and, to make a long story short, enroll his dad in their treatment program. This is bound to have extended Doc's life for quite a while. Doc was not known to me personally, but my dad knew him and always spoke of Doc and Mary Lee with great respect as folks who had weathered a lot of hardship and had been able to overcome tremendous obstacles to preserve their lives and those of John and Gene.
This work lays out their daily lives in vignettes that are appealing to any reader. I know what John says is true and sincere. I was with you, John, and Gene, although not having to endure nearly the mountains you had to climb. Buy this book. You will laugh, cry, experience life's joys and hardships, and pleasures. This is a quick, entertaining and yet factual read. Once you start, you will think you are viewing a "mind" video and won't put it down.
Thank you, John for telling your story. My respect and admiration for you, and pride to count you as a friend know no bounds.
The story is focused around his father, a very strong, mild mannered, hard working mensch of a man. There were very few surprises that surfaced about the father (that was why his tragic death of AIDS was so startling) But the character that struck me the most was his mother. I felt empathy for her thruout the book. The somewhat dysfunctional family life before she married, her inability to always connect with her boys, her fear and perhaps her issues with trust. She wasn't a bad person in any way, shape or form, but she was a confusing juxtaposition when compared to the father.
The story about his father contracting AIDS is a portrait of how far we have come in 25 years. The story clearly paints a picture of the predicable discriminatory nature of my perception of Texas even to this day. It demonstrated the frustration of not being able to explain how the father obtained AIDS during a medical procedure and the fear, especially from the mother, of being tagged with the scarlet letter. The legal and social vindication is heartwarming although I would have liked to have seen even more details about the legal wrangling...and to have seen a Perry Mason legal climax. But that will have to wait for the movie.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was touching to see the maturation of the author from a child to mature adult. It's never too late to learn and adapt.
This book is a very well-written TRUE account of how a small town hospital in West Texas performed (what turned out to be) an unnecessary exploratory procedure on John's very honorable farmer father. The procedure involved a simple blood transfusion which became the source of an unimaginable nightmare for his family, since the transfused blood was tainted with the AIDS virus. The hospital then knowingly tried to cover it all up. Compounding all of this is the fact that it happened in the mid-1980’s, when AIDS fears were rampant throughout the nation and the lack of knowledge of the HIV/AIDS virus was at its height, especially in rural areas.
However, in spite of the depressing nature of the book’s subject, most of the book is a very intimate memoir and narrative of a loving son’s memories about growing up in West Texas in the 1950’s, out in the middle of nowhere. The many stories and anecdotes Mr. Montandon shares with his readers are by turns brutally honest AND hilariously funny (usually at the same time), and offers up a slice of vanishing Americana - with all the innocence and simplicity of farm life during that era. Plus, a few risqué bonus nuggets!
I literally could not put this book down once I started it. Thought it might be morose and depressing, but instead, I discovered grace and humility, honesty and great wit woven into the pages.
I kept thinking this book would make a riveting movie, especially as it is essentially a story that every reader will be able to relate to at some level. Hey! Hollywood! Someone needs to get their hands on this book!