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Reviewed by Dinorah Blackman for Readers' Favorite
Gary D. Conrad is a brilliant storyteller and Oklahoma Is Where I Live is his masterpiece. Conrad shares heartwarming stories of what it was like for him growing up and being an adult in Oklahoma. Whether it’s the story of his first crush and how he stole a kiss from her, raising his own chickens, the rush he got from kicking down a door, or confessing his obsession with candy, Conrad’s stories are easy to identify with. He relies on his personal experiences to share the life lessons he learned. His openness when expressing the loneliness felt after a divorce resonates with all who have experienced the deep sense of loss that comes after a relationship ends. As he shares the healing process, Gary D. Conrad makes a powerful statement: “The idea of male bonding is oftentimes joked about, but it’s high time that the John Wayne Syndrome and the fear of being labeled a homosexual are brushed into the past. Real men need each other, and that’s a fact.”
Oklahoma Is Where I Live is a beautifully written compilation of short stories with powerful lessons intertwined in each one. The book is written in an easy to read fashion that engages the reader from the start. Both young and old will be delighted by the experience of growing up during a time when a nickel was enough to get you candy at a store, when the word “gay” meant “happy” or “merry,” and when Bonanza was the most popular TV show. The language is friendly and easy to understand. Conrad makes use of his experiences as a young boy growing up in Oklahoma to provide a deep analysis of his life as an adult - something we all need to do at some point in our lives.