When I first saw Starbuck O’Dwyer’s book while skimming the pages of Library Thing, I skimmed past it thinking it was a self-help book. Upon closer inspection, How to Raise a Good Kid is a memoir of childhood and parenting and I’m glad I won the Library Thing giveaway and had the opportunity to read this.
From the first story, The Importance of Enthusiasm, you are swept away into Starbuck’s childhood, from family road trips across country, to dealing with bullies to first crushes. The stories are at times witty, nostalgic and heart-warming, and Starbuck O’Dwyer’s memoir will leave you with a big smile, as you sit and ponder your own past and hold close to your heart your own personal memoir of childhood.
These stories make you sentimental for your own childhood and as I sat as read them, I thought of road trips and stories we still tell at family gatherings. Since becoming a mother myself, I have valued my parents even more and I’m grateful for all of the small (and large) sacrifices they made.
My favorite story was Courage in which Starbuck relates the story of his mom, who hates to be cold and his dad, determined to spend quality family time together – skiing. His mom never complained, never said she was too cold or didn’t want to go. Even when she fell down, she picked herself up and finished the slope (obviously I’m not a skier hope that’s the right term). Though she was terrified of competing in the family race his dad signed them up in, she completed all five races and Starbuck learned courage from his mom that winter.
It was a quick, easy read (160 pages) and makes a good read for anyone. Starbuck blends childhood stories and life lessons into a wonderful and well-written ode to both his parents and his younger days.