3 out of 4 stars
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The Making of a Man by Mark Hearn is a coming-of-age collection of poetry, prose, and philosophic writings following the author's journey from boyhood to manhood. Beginning in his teenage years and on into his late twenties, Hearn reflects on issues such as his parents' divorce, loneliness, depression, love, relationships with girls and friends, family conflict, death, and decisions related to his education and career choices.
After dealing with the fallout from his parents' divorce during his teen years, Hearn must also learn to cope with the pain of his own divorce at twenty-two. Readers will relate to his transparently raw reflections as he finds his way. Evidenced by the dated entries of the collection, the reader witnesses Hearn's progression from wrestling self-doubt to maturing and defining his course in life and love. He concludes that fears and challenges can be overcome; goals and dreams are achieved by believing in one's success.
As the sister of two younger brothers and mother of a young adult son of my own, this coming-of-age collection piqued my interest. Remembering their seasons of searching and restlessness, I could relate to Hearn's description of his journey. The book was described as being "comprised of poems, prose, and general philosophy." More often than not, it read more like a series of ramblings one might find in a journal. Nevertheless, I purposed to view the works collectively. While scathingly self-analytical at times, I found his reflections to be refreshingly transparent--most likely relatable and encouraging for young people going through the same season of life.
However, I felt the collection was weakened by the inclusion of repetitious content. Perhaps Hearn's intent was to maintain the book's integrity by including all of his dated entries. Even so, I believe readers will likely tire of his lamenting about his time in Geneva, as I did. Finding a different way to emphasize how much he disliked living in Switzerland other than the multiple entries contemplating his indecisiveness would improve the book as a whole.
The collection seems to have been professionally edited, as I noted only a few errors, including what appears to be an editor's note in the margins of one of the pages. Perhaps this was due to the PDF copy I read, but it bears noting. Overall, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I have no doubt that purging some of the repetitious content would bring the rating to the full four stars. I recommend the book to young adult readers and those who enjoy poetry, prose, and philosophy. On the other hand, if reading self-analytical content tries your patience, you'll probably want to skip this one.
The Making of a Man
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