By: Kirsten Hegberg Pursell
Publication Date: October 2021
Reviewed by Lynette Latzko
Review Date: May 30, 2022
Ah, the teenage years. Some of us look back at that time in our lives fondly remembering a carefree seven or so years of fun, exploration, and optimism about the future, while others would rather bury their heads and forget some of their angsty teen years filled with uncertainty about the different sexes, acne, and seemingly endless piles of school work. But what if you could read about all of it, your innermost, private thoughts during those teenage years as they occurred in your journals? Would you want to bring up those memories, and most importantly, would you want anybody else to read them?
That is exactly what author Kirsten Hegberg Pursell decided to do in her latest book, On Becoming Me: Memoir of an 80's Teen. But why would someone want to relive all those moments, the good, the bad, and even the embarrassingly ugly, and present it to the world to read (exactly how it appears in her diaries, poetry, and letters) and possibly set oneself up for a lot of criticism? According to the author, one of the most important reasons she decided to publish her memoirs was to celebrate her life, and how she became who she is today - by revealing everything, not merely the clean and wholesome parts, but the dark sides as well.
You see, at the beginning of Kirsten's diary, she was a confident, young girl who was an excellent swimmer with a bright future. A girl who did well in school, loved her family and friends, and had crushes on boys (both real and celebrity). But as the years progressed and the hormones started to wreak havoc in her mind, things changed for Kirsten. The once positive diary entries became negative, and filled with angst and identity confusion. Readers get a firsthand glimpse into her private experiences as she moves throughout her teen years, battling with the wild vortex of emotions she’s feeling over new romantic relationships, while also juggling other fragile relationships with her parents and friends. Fortunately, despite all the turmoil over the years, Kirsten ultimately begins to pull herself out of the darkness, accepts who she is, and begins to blossom into her true self. While this memoir presents a very real look into the tumultuous years of the author’s teen years, it is heavy on her loves, lusts, and romantic relationships, and can become a bit tedious to read at times. Though quite typical for a “boy crazy” girl of her age, one can’t help but wonder what other events occurred during these times that weren’t mentioned in her diaries, but might have been equally critical in shaping her future. However, readers of any age should not shy away from experiencing this book. Whether you are a teen yourself experiencing similar issues, or an adult walking down memory lane, this book will have something for you.
Quill says: Author Kirsten Pursell opens up her “memory vault” in a raw, honest, coming-of-age memoir set against the backdrop of the 80s, that is relevant for all generations.
For more information on On Becoming Me: Memoir of an 80's Teenager, please visit the author's website at: www.kirstenpursell.com