Reviews of By His Own Blood
Stephen Jay Schwartz, L.A. Times Bestselling author of Boulevard and Beat"By His Own Blood captures the heart and soul of a bygone America, revealing the strength and dignity one family exhibits after a terrifying medical error and subsequent cover-up causes the family's patriarch to contract AIDS through an unnecessary blood transfusion. It's a heartbreaking, true story told with great compassion and insight. John Montandon paints an endearing portrait of men and women struggling to farm an untamed land while remaining committed to the core values that dictate their lives. The same values that allow them to cope with the tragedy that unfolds. Montandon's prose is crisp and clean and this, his debut effort, proves he's a first-rate storyteller worthy of all the acclaim he will surely receive. There is nothing I didn't like about this beautifully-written, tender memoir."
Lori D. Handelman, PhD, Editorial Consulting"John Montandon relates the heartbreaking story of his beloved father's unnecessary death, in a terrible tale of mishandling and deception. Doc, his father, was a Texan in the old style: honest, humble, caring, a man of few words. Montandon gives us his father's whole life, presenting just the right details to make the time and place vivid and alive. When tragedy finally strikes, and Doc becomes infected with HIV, family members respond in a variety of ways. This story is told with compassion and understanding for the time and place, and for the difficult, no-win situation in which everyone found themselves, through no fault of their own. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it for anyone who is interested in a story of dignity and resilience in the face of unwarranted tragedy."
Wayne Strom, Ph.D. Professor of Behavioral Science, The Graziadio School, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California"While this is the story of one man's life, it is also the story of many American families. The trip from the dusty farm fields of west Texas to the streets of San Francisco does not follow a straight line. The transferring of the values one builds his or her life upon begin in childhood. When young Johnnie rode with his dad on the big Deere tractor plowing the straight lines, much more than words were exchanged. These moments and similar times with his mother became the root-source of the integrity, courage and compassion evident almost a lifetime later on the streets of San Francisco. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who cares about family and the values that see families through the many and varied challenges of life." (For the full Dr. Strom review, click here.)
Wyman Meinzer, Texas State Photographer"Author John Montandon grew up only a few miles from my own stomping grounds along the Brazos River in Knox County. Although a little older than me, I am familiar with the farms where he lived and appreciate the level of grit and exhaustive work it took to make the land support a family. In his excellent work "By His Own Blood", John succinctly conveys this rich life that he knew and so eloquently defines the personal challenges faced by so many others who shared in this life way. Unlike most however, the personal tragedy that his family experienced was on the cutting edge of a nemesis that confronts people world wide today. Kudos to John for opening the pages of his youthful years for all to see. It offers a view of life and tragedy in a perspective we can all understand."
Kirkus Reviews, World's Toughest Book CriticsThe author's father was subjected to unnecessary surgery in the early 1980s; many years later, shortly before his death, the family discovers that Doc was infected with HIV-positive blood as a result of the procedure. The hospital never informed the Montandon family of its error and even refused to treat Doc as a patient. Quite touching and emotional, the story of Doc's death reveals the resulting emotional and spiritual toll on the family. These recollections set the stage and build characterization before the tragedy starts to unfold. The story of Doc's treatment, death, and everything that follows is captivating. The impact of Doc's death on the author is clear, and he describes Doc's final days with an intensity and passion that will affect readers. Starts slow but ends as a beautiful, memorable story of one family's love and the tragic death of its patriarch.
Richard Parker, Creative Director, Creative Direction, Inc."Doc Montandon will quite possibly be the best man you will ever know. This book is about him, a hard-working and religious Texas farmer of uncommonly good character. It is about his tragic death and cover-up. And it's about how the legacy of his example and gentle guidance helped his son and family endure, overcome, and be the better for it all. By His Own Blood is beautifully told by the Doc's son, the author of the book. It is an emotional, honest and detailed accounting that can only come from someone who's been there. Based on a true story, you'll feel the grit of country road dust in your teeth and hear Doc exalting a cappella in a favorite hymn over the sound of his John Deere tractor as you are compelled to plow nonstop through this wonderful book."