Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Born on the Bayou

Born on the Bayou: A Memoir by Blaine Lourd

Publication Date: 08/18/2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Imprint: Gallery Books
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 224

(Received for an honest review from Gallery Books)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Blaine Lourd on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Born on the Bayou, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


In the tradition of the modern classics The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer and The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr, Blaine Lourd’s meaningful debut Born on the Bayou is a powerful gothic memoir set in the bayous and oil towns of 1970s Louisiana.

In honest, confessional prose, Born on the Bayou—a rollercoaster rags-to-riches story—transports us to a pocket of the South where Lourd learns how to be a man from the two people he looks up to the most: his larger-than-life father, “Puffer,” a prominent figure in the oil business, and his successful older brother, Bryan. With an eye turned perpetually toward the gruff and distant Puffer, Lourd illustrates how those closest to us can cause the most hurt, even as we seek their approval.

Whether he’s learning how to skin a duck at age ten, enjoying his first beer at thirteen, or detailing the finer points of ride-on lawn mowing, Lourd gets to the heart of being a Southerner with rawness and grace. From his early childhood through his eventual pilgrimage to the West Coast, he beautifully details what it means to have tangible roots to a place so ingrained it is a part of your own being.

From barreling down the low country roads in a shiny Thunderbird to chasing women and learning to be a gentleman, Born on the Bayou is one man’s struggle against the forces of family love, loyalty and obligation, and the ties that keep us tethered to our roots no matter how far we run.


Blaine Lourd is a Los Angeles businessman. But his poignant new memoir, Born on the Bayou tells the story of a young boy growing up in "Cajun" country. This is a father-son tale that will make you smile, make you nostalgic and make you contemplate the relationships in your own life. Lourd is a born storyteller and his book is both raw and sentimental. Readers who love non-fiction and memoirs should not miss this one. It was amazingly detailed and full of sharp intellect and a true sense of family. Lourd proves that you might take the boy out of the Bayou but you never take the Bayou out of the boy!

I read non-fiction on occasion and truly enjoy it. I have often found that true life experiences are sometimes more interesting than most fiction. Memoirs are a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons. I like the intimacy that the reader gets from the story. It's like being a part of that person's life for a little while. I like the realistic portrayals of hard times and good times. I like the honesty in it. And wow, did Blaine Lourd deliver with his new memoir, Born on the Bayou. 

This is such a good memoir. I found myself wondering things about when I wasn't reading it. Lourd has a wonderful voice for writing. His storytelling ability is memorable. I think this is one that will stick with readers for awhile. It is basically, a father-son story. Lourd tells about his life in Southern Louisiana and how it shaped him into the man he became. It has everything from hunting to chasing women and will draw the reader like bees to honey.

Lourd grew up in the 70's during the oil boom and subsequent collapse in the early 80's. His father, known to many as "Puffer", was a trucker who taught his boys about becoming a man. It is a candid story that doesn't hesitate to show the good and the bad of this man's life and how his influence changed his sons for the better and the worse. I loved the admiration Lourd felt for his older brother and his acceptance of his fathers flaws. I found myself wanting to know more than even the memoir provided, a rare thing in non-fiction for me.

This is also a rags to riches kind of story. Blaine Lourd didn't stay in the Bayou, but the Bayou never left him, even when he became a big shot in the big city. For one thing is shows the American Dream is still real and is still happening. There are those who still come up hard, but come up strong. Lourd's book exemplifies what hard work will get you and how you must never forget where you came from. The sense of family is strong in this book, the sense of tradition and a dying way of life. We may be becoming a more urban society as opposed to the rural society of the past, but is that good or bad?

Bottom Line:

This was an amazing story. I can't recommend it enough if you like this kind of reading. And if you don't and you're looking to broaden your horizons a bit, this is the memoir to do it with. Excellent, storytelling. A strong intellect and sheer raw honesty. It's a great read and I hope this isn't the only story we get from this author. He certainly knows a thing or two about telling a good story!

Born on the Bayou is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:


Mr. Lourd is one very rare coonass. Maybe the rarest ever. Most such swampified individuals are quite content, proud and happy to live out their lives in the marshland mists: and deservedly so. They are born Bayou—sanctified by its unique churches and irreverent history. Blaine Lourd was, however, not content. So, he dredged, dodged and danced his coonass self away from his particular corner of the swamp and into the flash world of Hollywood’s gilded gentry. It tore him down and then rebuilt him: brick by painful brick. But he never once considered abandoning the intrinsic sincerity and integrity of the people and place he was born to. The result: a man with the intense loyalties, brutal honesty and deep sense of twisted humor so characteristic of the denizens of the Bayou, and the financial and social sophistication to become—and be— one of the Lourds of Los Angeles. I know and love this man. Read his fascinating story and you will too.