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Our Teenage Years: Growing Up in a Small Town in the ’80s written by T.J. Wray is the heartwarming tale of a rowdy boy growing up in Guthrie, Oklahoma. He experiences joy, sadness, worry, and just plain old fun in a backwoods town during the decade of the ’80s.

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  • Title: Our Teenage Years : Growing Up in a Small Town in the ’80s
  • Author: T.J. Wray
  • Publisher: Self Published on November 27, 2018
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Pages: 132
  • Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
  • Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, Death

Many thanks to T.J. Wray for providing me with a digital copy of Our Teenage Years with a request for an honest review.

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Our Teenage Years Blurb

This is the first book in the (My Life) series. This is an inspiring story about overcoming whatever life may throw at you. This book is about two best friends growing up in their teenage years in a small town. All the wild adventures and stories from my childhood. After my parents divorced and we went on the run for 11 years. This book includes my first job, girlfriend, prom, driver’s license, my first car and many other first we all did in our teenage years. It’s a fun-filled adventure about being a teenager, epic road trips and best friends. But really this book is just about LIFE. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. This is a group of short stories about my teenage years that everyone will relate to. It is guaranteed to bring back memories of your teen years. Please enjoy


My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. Being from a small town myself, I felt as though I was sitting in a bar and shooting the breeze with an old friend. Mr. Wray and I share enough of the same experiences that we could talk for days and never run out of things to say. However, he experiences many things that I could never relate to. For example, I have never set my house on fire.

I believe that if we weren’t so similar this would have been a hard read. There is really no structure and the timeline is all over the place. Mr. Wray, himself, apologizes for his lack of grammar and writing skills, which I found endearing.

This honest and down-home rendition of small-town life earns 4 out of 5 stars from me. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love of memoirs, small towns, or the 1980s.

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About the Author – T.J. Wray

TJ Wray Author Headshot - Our Teenage Years

T.J. Wray grew up in a small town. He grew up quickly and got his first job at only thirteen years old. He knew people depended on him to do his job every day. So for two years he never missed a day. No matter the weather conditions, he always got the job done. He learned responsibility for his actions at a very early age. He was very active in his church and with his youth group. He learned a lot from the positive role models in his church, like his youth pastor and his Sunday school teacher. He didn’t drink or party in high school. He was responsible and went to work after school. He got his driver’s license at age fourteen and drove himself everywhere, while the other kids still rode the bus.

Even though he was a teenager, he was an adult. He said in a small town people wave as they passed by and said hello as they passed on the sidewalk. He said in a small town people ‘actually shook hands.’ In his teenage years, he was an avid fisherman. He once said he would “rather fish than breathe”. There’s nothing that compares to hooking a largemouth bass. He was quoted as saying, “If they don’t ride motorcycles and go fishing in heaven, I don’t want to go!”.

Nowadays, he lives in the Big City. He says nobody knows anybody, and they don’t want to. Everybody is always in a big hurry and would rather run over you than wait for one minute for you to move. No one ever seems to slow down and enjoy life, in the big city. He says he really misses life in a small town.

Author’s Contact Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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