4 out of 4 stars
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This is not your ordinary memoir. Gardening With Guns: A Memoir is a true-to-life and captivating one. Ordinary ones will focus on achievements and life pointers. Amber, the author, just focused on real life issues, challenges and how she dealt with them. She talks about family. Family here stands for both the nuclear and extended ones. She also talks about her career - though not as much as she does about family. Also, there are themes such as divorce, suicide and paedophilia. AJ Wootton doesn't shy away from the ugly. I reckon her point was that the challenges and shortcomings we face serve as guides and strongholds as we grow older.
My favorite chapter was chapter 39 - Revelations. Children should not have to bare their shame and disgust in secrecy. The characterization was on point. Amber was the main character, as she narrates her own story, but there were other major characters. Matt, for example, played a major role. He was the author's partner for a little over two decades. They also sired three beautiful children together. The story between these two was among my favorite aspects of the book. It was surreal. Amber's dad was also one of my favorite characters. He remarried severally but tried as much as he could to be there for his children. The plot was well-paced. A reader moves from a scene to the other seemlessly. The author is a good story teller. She knows how to use suspense and intrigue properly. You don't see stuff coming. It's safe to say this one's a page turner.
One thing I disliked was the character of Glen. These are the kind of individuals who ruin kid's lives. His character was necessary though. It is meant to make the reader understand what some children go through. It also made the story real. I also expected more life lessons, but it was more of a narration. Still, these two aspects didn't distract my enjoyable read.
I found only a few errors. This goes to say that the book was professionally edited. In fact, most were issues to do with spacing of the PDF copy. The above dislikes don't warrant the loss of a single star. Therefore, I rate this memoir 4 out of 4 stars. I could hardly put it down. Amber's story was unique and riveting.
I recommend this memoir to young adults and the elderly. Most of them would relate to one or two aspects narrated in this good piece. Younger audiences may not identify with this one as it's mostly about adult stuff. Adults can learn quite a lot from Amber's experiences and decisions. There was profanity and eroticism, thus, once again, unfavorable for a younger audience. Readers of any religion - or non-religious ones - would enjoy this book. Married individuals would find this one interesting and eye-opening as well. Generally, it's an awesome read.
Gardening With Guns
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