3 out of 4 stars
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I am a fan of memoirs and autobiographies. I love reading a person’s life story in their own words and showing off their unique personality quirks and character nuances. That’s the biggest reason I picked up Pinky: Poverty to Prosperity by Frank Browning Clark. This book details the stories of his life; starting with his birth in 1937 and concluding with his current-day retirement years. He also shares a bit of family lore and history and writes about the Clark family before his parents were married and had children, foreshadowing what was to come later in his life.
Frank “Pinky” Clark did not begin his life with a silver spoon in his mouth. The Clark family was incredibly poor and lived on the brink of homelessness for the majority of Frank’s growing up years. His father is described as an irresponsible alcoholic who drank away any good fortune the family ever fell in to. During the very worst time, Frank’s father outright abandons the family and leave no clues as to his whereabouts. The family barely got by on the grit and hard work of their mother and the kindness of neighbors, extended family, and complete strangers. Through this great adversity, Frank and his siblings developed a strong work ethic, the ability to persevere, and an uncanny resourcefulness.
This memoir was memorable to me because it covered such a wide range of topics. Author Frank Browning Clark was successful at a wide range of jobs including service station attendant, law enforcement officer, foreign services officer in Vietnam during the Vietnam war, and multiple positions at the E & J Gallo Winery. He shares very interesting details about each of his jobs and even adds in a bit of humor. Frank Clark married twice and divorced once and had children with both wives and shares some delightful stories about his marriages and his children. He also wrestles with some serious ethical and moral issues concerning his jobs and his family. My favorite parts of this book were the little personal details that showed Frank and his family as real, sweet, and flawed people, just like we all are.
This book had a few minor editorial errors, but they weren’t excessive or distracting. Sometimes the dialogue seemed awkward and forced. I also was turned off by the sexist and racist anecdotes that seemed fairly normal in the 1950s and 1960s, but wouldn’t be tolerated today. Those stories served as a good reminder of how far our society has come over the years.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes memoirs and autobiographies. Those interested in law enforcement or the Vietnam War would also find it interesting. I rated Pinky: Poverty to Prosperity 3 out of 4 stars.
PINKY: Poverty to Prosperity
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