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My Own Two Feet

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  716 ratings  ·  128 reviews
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. Follows the her through college years during the Depression; jobs including that of librarian; marriage; and writing and publication of her ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by HarperCollins (first published September 27th 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,438)
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Irene
Apr 04, 2013 Irene rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adult and Adult Fans of Beverly Cleary
Shelves: biography-memoir
This book literally picks up where A Girl from Yamhill leaves off, with the author on a bus heading for junior college in California.

I enjoyed this book and found it more personal than A Girl from Yamhill, which I thought was written rather matter-of-factly.

We follow the author as she attends college, goes to librarian school, and finds employment, all the while making friends, meeting men, and learning and striving to stand "on her own two feet". Her naivete, and her retrospective self-awaren
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Bonnie
Since many of my elementary school years were spent sprawled out next to public library windows reading and rereading each and every Ramona book, I was intensely thrilled to discover this book on Amazon a year and a half ago and bought it immediately. "My Own Two Feet" details Beverly Cleary's life while attending college, escaping her family's negativity about her choices in life, deciding upon a career and attending library school, meeting and marrying her husband, and embarking upon a career ...more
Heidi Hertzog
I am a big fan of children’s literature and have always love Beverly Cleary’s books from the time I was a young child, so it was fun to read about her life and how it came about that she wrote children’s books and where she found many of her ideas for her stories. An added dimension was the fact that she was working to educate herself during the depression and with the added burden of a mother who wasn’t exactly supportive of her efforts in education or her social life.

Funny enough I was reading
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K
Did anyone else predict that she a) married Mr. Cleary when she met him and b) that she was going to get published at the end??

All jokingness aside, I am a fan of her Ramona and Ralph series and read from reviews that it was a good look at how life was lived during the Depression. Admittedly, I skipped her first autobio and went straight for this one.

I don't know if this is a book for anyone, though, as she goes pretty in-depth with college classes which may significantly bore a non fan or someo
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Toni
May 12, 2008 Toni rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sarah
Shelves: biography-memoir
For those who remember reading Beverly Cleary's books, this second memoir of Cleary's is fairly absorbing. As a high school graduate, Cleary escaped her extremely over protective, fairly neurotic mother and the gray skies of Portland, Oregon to attend college in sunny California. She relates her experiences going to school in the depression era 30's, her classes, friends, and meeting her future husband, Clarence Cleary. After graduation her desire to become a childrens' librarian takes her to Ya ...more
Danica
God I loved this book! I have a thing for books that act like a window into another time, and I particularly enjoy when the time is different than mine but the place is the same. Cleary draws clear, wry, and sweet pictures of her journey into independence as a young adult. I spent much of the first part of the book relating tidbits aloud to my wife -- "When she talks about having to take care of the icebox, she doesn't mean she had to clean out the fridge! She means the ice would melt into a tra ...more
Susann
I love every bit of this. The college parts, especially the Stebbins Hall details, are so wonderful that I once took a pilgrimage to Cal/UC Berkeley and could barely contain myself when a friendly undergrad asked me if I wanted a tour of Stebbins.

And it gets even better once Beverly becomes...a librarian! I first read this shortly after being accepted to library school and, many years and several re-reads later, find that Beverly's pride in her profession shines through. Her line about librarian
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Earl
Continuing right where her first memoir, A Girl from Yamhill, left off, My Own Two Feet chronicles the life of Beverly Cleary from the summer before college to the publication of her first book, Henry Huggins.

Reading her thoughts and experiences just make me want to be BFF with her. She's so smart and funny. It's rare for a writer's personality to shine through their work.

Her relationship with her mother continues to be a fascinating study which becomes even more strained when Beverly meets Clar
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SoCal Heather
I was looking forward to reading about the an author who I loved so much as a child.It was well written and interesting but somehow disappointing. I was able to finish it in one day, so maybe it was too simply written to really tell about that portion of her life.
Magda
This one didn't seem quite as interesting as the first memoir, but I still enjoyed it exceedingly, especially her hard work (and adventures) to become a children's librarian.
Elizabeth Quinn
When I was a new reader just beginning chapter books, Beverly Cleary was just about my favorite author, and her book, Ellen Tebbits, remains one of my favorites. I read the memoir of her life up to her high school graduation, A Girl from Yamhill, a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, although for some unknown reason I didn't write a review at the time. My Own Two Feet picks up the story when Cleary moved to southern California to attend junior college and takes her up to the sale of her first no ...more
Megan
I have read and reread Beverly Cleary's first memoir, A Girl from Yamhill half a dozen times and never even new she had a second memoir until a few years ago when I found this book at Powell's Books. I have been holding onto it since then and finally read it as I have decidedly on a huge memoir kick right now.

My Own Two Feet, follows Cleary after she graduates high school, attends college all the way up to the publishing of her first book. I found this book immensely interesting. It is definitel
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Tracy
Beverly Cleary shares her life story from the moment she leaves her home in Portland, OR, at the age of 18 to attend junior college in Ontario, CA, and continues through her college days, library school days, early days of marriage and working, and ends with the publication of her first book.

I loved this! She has such a sense of humor, and the details of college life during the depression were quite fascinating. I have many of the same interests as Beverly Cleary, and even have a library scienc
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Kristen
A continuation of her previous memoir, "My Own Two Feet" picks up where "A Girl from Yamhill" ended, with young Beverly on a bus headed to California. Her sadness at leaving home is quickly replaced by excitement about her new life. She has arranged to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and is amazed at how much more relaxed and free their household is than her own. The college she's headed to was chosen for it's waiver of out-of-state tuition. It's affordable and, she finds, much more chall ...more
Carin
Wow, I didn't think this would happen but I actually loved My Own Two Feet even more than A Girl From Yamhill! And it's very well titled as Beverly is trying very, very hard through the whole book to get out from under her mother's thumb.

The book starts just where Yamhill left off, with Beverly heading off to Southern California to stay with her aunt and attend junior college. Naturally, her mother is sure this will be a disaster but Beverly goes anyway. She has a good time and gets good grades.
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Jenny
My Own Two Feet is Beverly Cleary's second memoir, capturing her college years through her mid-thirties, when she wrote and published her first book, Henry Huggins.

I loved reading this book, just like I loved reading Cleary's first memoir, A Girl from Yamhill, and really had trouble putting down the book. I really got the sense of Cleary's life as she learns to be a grown up. I loved hearing politely (but matter of factly) about her relationship with her parents and how their interaction with h
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Karina
Beverly Cleary writes about her days from exiting college to writing her first book. There were times when she struggled because her grades weren't perfect. She worked as a school librarian during her college years and a little after. She struggled to write her first book even but eventually fought through all of the trials and tribulations to become one of the most famous authors of children literature.
Intermediate and advanced children should read this novel. It wouldn't be difficult for them.
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Michelle
I loved reading all the Beverly Cleary books in my elementary school library. I'd forgotten just how much until I read this fascinating autobiography. What a wonderful glimpse of a life lived during the Great Depression and World War 2. So interesting to see how different life was back then. It's practically an alien planet. If you are Gen X or younger, it's much like watching Mad Men...your jaw keeps hitting the floor in disbelief over what was considered acceptable behavior, but also that ever ...more
Dena Kaye
I really liked this book! But then i like hearing about every detail of classes she took,grades she got,and papers she wrote in college.She tells about how things were for her during the 1930s,with the great depression,world war ll and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.Her struggles to get a job as a librarian were also interesting,She writes the same way as her books are written,with an easy to the point style.Shes not one to really have a descriptive flair and thats ok she makes up for it with factu ...more
Dawn
It is somehow reassuring to learn that Beverly Cleary didn't have a particularly good relationship with her mother either.

For those of us who learned to love books at the foot of the C shelf in the children's library, this is a welcome find. I haven't yet read the first of the two autobiographies, but I'll be circling back for it.

She's given us a fairly absorbing picture of her life as a young woman getting started in life during the 30's and 40's. Being a "good girl" things aren't terribly ex
...more
Lori Rader-Day
Started this book, really enjoying it, then realized...why would a children's author start writing recounting her life from age 18? Right. There's another book out there somewhere about her childhood.

I liked reading this. It's very charming and well done. She's the reason I started writing at age 7. My only disappointment is that she doesn't spend very much time talking about writing. (One reason is that she didn't write until she was married, settled, etc.) The book ends just as she's cashing
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Julie
I never read her books but my husband remembers them fondly and wants our children to read them. I enjoy biographies and read this after my daughter and I read "A Girl from Yamhill" together for a class assignment. The only problem I had with this book was that I had a really hard time reading about her relationship with her mother. I wanted to defend her mom sometimes, because I know how hard it is to be a mother. Not everything her mom did was right, but at least she cared and wanted what was ...more
Richard Ward
Looking over the other reviews, I think I'm the first man to review this book on goodreads. Many of her books, if not all, have always been popular with boys. Her first book was about a boy, as was Dear Mr. Henshaw, and it was a boy who helped inspire her by asking librarian Beverly Bunn, "Where are the books about kids like us?" Yet I can understand why her autobiography would be far more popular with female readers, as it is, after all, a story about a girl turned woman. Like Part One, A Girl ...more
Vickey Foggin
Beverly Cleary and I are both rural Oregonians who left home as teens to make a better life. We both were raised with Depression-era values and struggled with poverty and unhappy defeatist mothers. We both sacrificed to put ourselves through college, were lucky enough to meet and marry amazing kindhearted men, were saddened by infertility and the dashed hopes that come with it, and studied to become youth librarians. There are a lot of parallels between my life and Beverly Cleary's so this book ...more
Lexish


I actually liked this second book of Beverly Cleary's memoirs better than the first. Though I loved seeing in Girl From Yamhill where pieces of her children's books came from (Klickitat Street and such), I just felt that this second one flowed more smoothly. Both memoirs are told in a very unsentimental fashion without much descriptive language -- much like Cleary's children's books -- but I say that as a stylistic commentary rather than as a negative in a review.
Abigail
My favorite chapter was "My War with the Army." Before she was an author, Beverly Cleary was a post librarian on a military base in California during WWII. What interesting stories, including how she subverted the system to get the library's typewriter back after it had been requisitioned.

Her life story is very down to earth, full of humor and realism as she dealt with conflicts with her parents and relatives and took the road to authordom.
Anne Broyles
This second part of Cleary's autobiography was far more interesting than the first, mostly because it begins with the author moving to CA for college and ends when she has sold her first book. Whereas the first book featured Cleary's controlling mother, in this sage, Cleary comes into her own as an increasingly-independent young woman who makes her own choices. The last chapter focuses (finally!)on her writing.
Tammy Mckeever
Having read all of Beverly Cleary's book as a child I was quite excited to find this book at a local book sale. I found the book to be interesting not only because of the telling of her teen to adult years but also how she was able to include history and culture in a way that gave me a greater understanding of growing up and accomplishing what she did in the years she was doing them. Enjoyable read.
Amanda
I never thought a book about a libarian could be so interesting. Her life was fasinating. Maybe it was just because it was a different time that was unfamiliar to me. But her college life and what she did to get herself through was inspiring. She was very independent for a woman of her time. I wish the book didn't end with the begining of her writing career. I wanted to know more.
Linda
This book is an autobiography of Beverly Cleary. The book starts in her college years and goes through her first part of her working career. She did some amazing jobs!!

The setting is in southern California and my mother grew up in that part of the United States. Now she is enjoying the book and all the places that Beverly went.

A great read!!
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
...more
More about Beverly Cleary...
Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Ramona, #6) The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1) Ramona the Pest (Ramona, #2) Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)

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