Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children is part one of a three-part memoir trilogy, recounting events of the author, Felice Picano’s youth and life. Upon finishing, I found the blurb “not so much secret, as just forgotten” quite appropriate. As we age, much of the passion, fear, and intensity of childhood – friendship, first loves, the first kiss, first hatred, first adventures, and first heartbreaks – is swept under the rug, in place of more “important’ and pressing day-to-day matters; yet, Picano would have us remember that it is what happend in our childhood that is responsible for shaping us and sending us down our independent paths – for good or for bad. While Picano is certainly not a master of youthful dialogue – and his memories of just how much he read, and what subject matter (and with how much comprehension of said material) seems far fetched – even for such a self-proclaimed genius with an I.Q. of 170 – he is still an honest, touching story-teller. Ambidextrous (literally and metaphorically appropriate, in this case) is a novel about all the pressures, mysteries, and excitement of growing up and experiencing everything for the first time- something we, as adults, are numb to and eventually take for granted. A time-worthy read, though a caution to sensitive readers is not without merit.
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