4 out of 4 stars
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Finding one's place in life is always a bit tricky, but when your mother is never satisfied with you and always makes it obvious it's even tougher. Mix into that situation the belief that a child owes their life to their parents as long as they live and it's a recipe for disaster! That's the situation author Daniel Yves Eisner faced in his autobiography My Real Hue.
Daniel takes us through his time as a young child to recent years all within about 150 pages. Daniel's issues start early, when his Nanny (Grandma) told him that all children are forever indebted to their parents. This embedded within him the desire to make his parents proud, but no matter what he did his mother was never happy. He would even study his mother, trying to figure out what she wanted before she even wanted it, yet it still never paid off.
To complicate matters even further, Danny discovered as early as third grade that he may be interested in boys. Now not only did he feel like a failure with keeping his mother happy, he was dealing with defining himself sexually. His journey is far from easy, but he not only ends up dealing with his relationship with his mother, he also successfully explores his sexuality, learns a lot of important life lessons and becomes his own - very successful - man!
Despite being a straight man raised by kind, loving parents, I could really empathize with Danny's story. Not only was it dramatic and sad and painful at times, it could also be funny and sweet and worthy of celebration. Danny's father was far too busy and his mother didn't want to deal with raising the kids or taking care of the house, so Danny and his brother always had help. Unfortunately, just like Danny, none of them were up to his mother's standards and many of them did some really wild stuff! It made for a really funny, totally crazy section of the book, and it's only one of the wildly different portions within.
In addition to dealing with his own sexuality, Danny also has to deal with being drafted to Vietnam, although luckily he ended up getting out of it for medical reasons. The book also deals with AIDS, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, romance and faith excellently.
I went into My Real Hue expecting a decent book about a man dealing with his sexuality and a mother who was never satisfied, but I'm walking away with so much more. I was also incredibly grateful that there are no naughty scenes in the book - while I'm a big fan of romance, I'm not a fan at all of naughtiness in books or movies, and this entire book is safe for anyone to read since it has none. The only negative I have about the book was that it needed a little editing, but not enough to make me deduct a point from my score. As such, my rating of My Real Hue by Daniel Yves Eisner is 4 out of 4 stars. It's a story that anyone who enjoys autobiographies or has had to deal with an overbearing parent, finding your way in life or coming out to the world as anything you weren't expected to be.
My Real Hue
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