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My Own Two Feet

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  965 Ratings  ·  152 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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Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
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
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth Quinn
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very satisfying read. It's the second volume of children's author Beverly Cleary's memoir, beginning with her embarking on a Greyhound bus during the Depression, off to stay with a relative in California and attend junior college. By the end, her first book, Henry Huggins, has at last been accepted for publication (featuring something of a cameo by Ramona, who will go on to be her most famous creation). I had really enjoyed Cleary's earlier memoir of her childhood and earlier teen years, A Gir ...more
Danica Stone
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kayla Thomas
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I wish there were more stars to give this book! Beverly Cleary was one of my favorite authors as a child, and I have enjoyed revisiting her work with my daughter over the last few years. I stumbled upon this memoir one day at our public library. I hesitated to pick it up as I normally don't enjoy nonfiction/biographies. However, my curiosity at the woman who penned so many wonderful stories won out.

Cleary's voice matches the style of her fiction. It read like a story rather than a piece of nonf
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I highly recommend this memoir of librarian and children's author Beverly Cleary, especially to my librarian friends and fans of her books. It's also just a well-written history of living during the Depression and WWII. Beverly Cleary was a college-educated woman ahead if her time. A most enjoyable read.
I think I enjoyed this even more than Cleary's other biography. Reading about Cleary's library education and work was awesome--especially the bits about her work as a special military librarian during World War 2. A fantastic read.
SoCal Heather
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really fun to read, it shows how much Beverly Cleary's stories are modeled after her own life. You will even see her descriptions of real places played out in her stories!
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
aw, she was a kids' librarian! and she seems like such a sweetheart. i love that she started writing books because she didn't see "real" kids portrayed in kids' literature of the time.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so fun! I loved reading about her experiences.
Jeanne Trawick
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love reading about people's lives. On my recent trip to Portland I picked up the FIRST Beverly Cleary memoir. It was really enjoyable, but left me DANGLING as Beverly was sent off to college on a BUS in the 1940s. I HAD to get the second books to see how she started writing and how her relationships would pan out. Book two did not disappoint. I want book 3 -- though that probably won't happen! Beverly was 100 last year when I was in Portland -- still living -- but probably not writing much! If ...more
Rhonda Clark
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this autobiography -- it included personal experiences in regard to history, exploring little about women's rights and the general culture/climate of the times. I didn't think it had enough about the man she eventually married, but perhaps he preferred it that way. I had read a lot of her stuff but didn't know much about the author herself.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The second of Beverly Cleary's two autobiographies focuses more on her college years and young adulthood. It talks about how she began developing the characters of Henry Huggins and Ribsy, and we all know what flowed after that!
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Burbank Library Children's Department
This is the second of two autobiographies written by Newbery Award winner Beverly Cleary. Ms. Cleary is perhaps most recently known for the film adaptation of her work titled Ramona and Beezus (2010), a movie starring Selena Gomez as Beezus.

A.R. 7.1

Other titles by this author:

Henry Huggins, 1950
Ellen Tebbits, 1951
Henry and Beezus, 1952
Otis Spoffor, 1953
Henry and Ribsy, 1954
Beezus and Ramona, 1955
Fifteen, 1956
Henry and the Paper Route, 1957
The Luckiest Girl, 1958
Jean and Johnny, 1959
The Hullabal
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
My dear friend Minna (mother to my buddy JN, the one who always lets me borrow his books) let me borrow this book along with The Luckiest Girl . She loved it and was certain that I would, too.

Being the anal reader I am, I had to read A Girl from Yamhill first. But, after having read My Own Two Feet, I have to say that I think it can stand alone without having to read Beverly Cleary's account of her early life.

My Own Two Feet picks up where A Girl from Yamhill left off: young Beverly Bunn is l
Lydia LaPutka
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this story probably more than most because I knew many of the places Mrs. Cleary talked about. I also went to Cal and just this last summer went on a tour of the University of Washington and saw the humongous library she described.

It's so interesting to read about college during the Depression and how different it all was that many years ago. That professors graded so randomly, even based on how interested she looked during lectures, astounded me. Several times Cleary mentione
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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1 1 Sep 12, 2016 08:35AM  
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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
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“reprimand. In her class she once informed us that any girl who wore red was “asking for anything she got.” Of course word spread throughout Chaffey. The next day every girl who owned a red dress, skirt, or blouse wore it to school. One” 0 likes
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