The Boots My Mother Gave Me
Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.
I found it really difficult to put into words just how deeply I loved this book. It's been days since I read it, and I still cannot get it off of my mind.
Harley's home life was terrible, to say the least. An abusive father? Check. An enabling, apologist mother? Check. Younger sister to protect? Yep, we have that, too. Incredible, swoon-worthy protective best friend of the opposite gender? Oh yeah, Miah fills that role quite well.
Jeremiah and Harley have been best friends since childhood. He was her first kiss, her first love, her first.
After high school graduation and one last beautiful night with Miah, Harley left her town and her abusive father behind, while Miah went off to join the military. Neither of them really knew where they were going, or when they'd see each other again.
Throughout the course of the book we travel with Harley as she goes from town to town, working various jobs and investing in various relationships. She keeps in close contact with her family, so we continue to learn about what's happening at home, as well. Several times Harley finds herself back in Georgia, PA, straight back into the family drama she tried to leave behind.
And then there's Miah. I swear, Miah had the patience of a saint. He always knew that Harley was it for him, and he was just waiting for her to stop running.
Overall, this story resonated within me. I cried, laughed, and found myself contemplating the various situations throughout Harley's journey. I'll remember this story for a long time, and would recommend it to anyone. I'm going to re-read and probable add to this review, because this is a book that deserves more than one pass.