Book Review: I Remember the Time…by Kim Hemphill

“Especially as we get older, memories become more important. We tend to idolize the happy memories. But what about the painful ones?

-Kim Hemphill from I Remember the Time…(5)

This review is overdue! I rated it: 5

The reason for my rating is that Hemphill discusses the abuse he experienced as a child and does a good job of communicating his ideas through writing. It’s not easy to go into detail about sensitive situations like child abuse. Honestly, how many people can step up and say that they were victims? Many people wouldn’t even go public or try to use their hardships to inspire others. And write a book that exposes these aspects to friends, family, and complete strangers to be judged? Forget about it.

If you’re looking for a high-impact, racy book, this probably isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a feel-good story about overcoming obstacles this is a good pick.

Yes, this book will break your heart and anger you as the author definitely goes through undeserved abuse but, it’ll entertain you, too. Hemphill shares some of his highly-entertaining adventures. I don’t want to give away too much but, he shares how he sets his desk on fire in grade school  (85), how he throws a dog in a pedophiles face to escape (96), and becomes the neighborhood hero by beating up the neighborhood bully (112).

I’d say that I Remember the Time… is a story about not giving up and finding small victories in life. I was amazed when and how his dad abandoned him, his siblings, and his disabled mom. His dad moves them into the country and leaves them in a beat-up trailer to fend for themselves (126)!  Ironically, the same thing happened to one of my close friends growing up, too. Except for her dad dumped them off in Mexico, in the country, in some sad old trailer. Hemphill sees his dad cry over his brother who goes to fight in Vietnam, though (146). This strange act of human frailty really left me wondering how someone with feelings could do some of the things he did. You do have to feel something to cry, don’t you? Or maybe, not.

The relationship Hemphill had with his brother, Craig, really stayed with me long after I finished reading the book. It was touching how much Craig did to protect Hemphill growing up and then even dies protecting others (151). I wish there were more Craigs–those that step out to help and protect others–out there.

Learn more about Kim Hemphill and order a copy of I Remember the Time… at