For generations, children's author Beverly Cleary has delighted young readers with tales of childhood that are realistic and understandable to her audience. With books such as "Ramona and Beezus" and "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," Cleary has been the author of choice for many children, parents and teachers choosing a first chapter book. In "My Own Two Feet," the second in a two-part autobiography, Cleary gives readers a glimpse of her own life.
"My Own Two Feet" begins where Cleary's first installment of her autobiography, "A Girl From Yamhill," ends. "A Girl From Yamhill" focuses on Cleary's childhood, growing up as an only child in Portland, Oregon during the Great Depression. "My Own Two Feet" begins as Cleary leaves her childhood home to attend Chaffey Junior College in California in the 1930s.
In her story, Cleary writes in an honest, straightforward manner about things such as the exciting life of California girls, life in college, the young romances and fun times with friends, meeting and marrying her husband, working and, finally, writing and publishing her first book, "Henry Huggins."
"My Own Two Feet" shows life in the 1930s and 1940s for a woman who attended college, which was still unusual at that time. Cleary also talks about working during World War II, and gives readers a glimpse of typical life in that era. Still, as in her works of fiction, Cleary peppers her story with anecdotes that make her experiences real and easy for the reader to relate to.
"My Own Two Feet" is written in a way that is enjoyable by adults, but is also suitable for children in grade 7 and older; teenagers and adults can enjoy the story together. The story of a woman struggling to gain independence and fulfill a dream is one that translates well to more than one generation of readers.