Growing Up Twice

Shaping a Future by Reliving My Past

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 06/18/2017
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Author Biography

Aaron Kirk Douglas is a Journalism graduate of the University of Oregon and has been marketing director at some of the largest and most prominent law firms in the Pacific Northwest.

For the past ten years in addition to working full time marketing commercial real estate, Mr. Douglas has completed several documentary film projects including the award-winning Monster Camp.

Mr. Douglas is a past board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters Columbia Northwest. He has several accolades in the mentoring arena including as a national finalist in The National Mentoring Partnership mentoring competition. He is a former nominee for national big brother of the year, and a recipient of one of Oregon's highest individual honors for outstanding personal achievement in volunteerism in support of low- income children and families.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Growing up Twice: Shaping a Future by Reliving My Past by Aaron Kirk Douglas is a powerful and memorable book. It’s a spellbinding, unusual memoir that explores the relationship between a middle-aged man and his teenage protégé, a book that is laced with wisdom and insight, both exciting and entertaining at the same time. Meet Aaron Kirk Douglas, a middle-aged man who selflessly undertakes the mission to mentor the son of an undocumented Latino. He has to be an elder brother to the boy and help him grow by being a role model for him. But it is more than that. The reader is transported into a world where brotherhood is defined, where fatherhood takes on a new perspective, and where friendship develops in the midst of harrowing trials. Can Aaron stay steadfast in his commitment until the end?

I enjoyed the many aspects of Growing up Twice: Shaping a Future by Reliving My Past. The story is beautifully written, insightful, and loaded with metaphors and a witticism that will interest readers. I enjoyed the fact that contact with the young boy could help the narrator look at his own upbringing and draw powerful lessons from it. I have read many memoirs, but rarely have I read something of this nature — a story that purely focuses on real friendship between two strangers. Readers will enjoy watching as the characters develop, gaining more wisdom and insight and contributing to each other’s personal growth. Mr. Douglas’ writing is stellar, his narrative voice compelling, and his story filled with emotional depth. This book will change the way we look at the less fortunate people we meet along the way, a powerful testimony that we can become the best we can be and, by so doing, become an inspiration for others.

Guy George Grondeaux


Growing Up Twice is a look inside the lives to two people who would probably have never met or become close. Their struggles dealing with each other as they try to deal with their own emotions. It is, at times, emotional and at other times, uplifting. It is basically a relationship story that becomes a story of love by the end of the book.

Both the author and Rico sound like wonderful people. Both should be proud of their relationship.

Well worth the money. I've ordered two more to send to people i think would love it.

Guy George Grondeaux

Ed Cooper

This is an engaging read that will change your feelings towards groups that have been marginalized but yet give so much good to our world. One person can change a person or a group of people but it is not easy but rewarding! This is a feel good book but at times you wonder why the author does not quit. We are lucky that by not giving up, he has made the world a better place.

Spencer Marona

Required Reading and Self Reflection

This book is packed with raw emotions and inspiration. Douglas does an incredible job taking the reader on a journey through laughs, sorrow, and motivation for doing the right thing. Most importantly and unexpectedly, it raises a question for the reader on whether your current life is as challenging as you think it may be. I loved this book, look forward to reading it again and also sharing with my children.


A Book You'll Remember

I'm not a book reviewer, but I had to share. This is an absolute page-turner! Loved it! This heartfelt memoir captures the life-changing power of unconditional love and perseverance. Even though this Big Brother/Big Sister match up is a pair with little in common, they learn from each other on how to grapple with life's struggles. Douglas could have "cashed in" by just focusing on the challenges of a white gay man mentoring an at-risk Latino youth, but he chooses to share much more. And he does so in a well-written, humble manner that is a joy to read.


A Great Read About Real Relationships

This is a heartfelt, honest story about Aaron's relationship with his Little Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. He does a great job reflecting on his experience and thinking about his own childhood. It is well written and inspiring. He made a difference in Rico's life and he knows that Rico made a difference in his. I'm really glad I read it.

Dajana Montalvo

Must Read!

This book had me hooked from the very first page. I felt that I took this incredible journey, through trials and tribulations, with the author and his little brother. This was the first book, in a long time, that I finished in almost one sitting. I was involved emotionally with this story, proud and happy at times, frustrated and sad at others. It definitely made me think of my teenage years. I can't wait to see what comes next from this incredible talented Author.

Amy M Driban-Gratman

What a great story! I seriously could not get enough. Very engaged reading the big brother/little brother relationship dynamics and the struggles that went with it. It's a true testament of love.

Melissa Moore

A Person Who is Truly Making This World a Better Place

This is an inspirational story written by a person who is truly making this world a better place. I was so moved by how Aaron not only changes the life of one young man, but also finds it deep within himself to uncover love for his own family even though they did not support him in his early years. The story is written in a straightforward manner, with humor, and in a way that keeps the reader wanting more. I'm so glad I read this!

Stumptown Reviewer

A Must-Read for Anyone Interested in Mentoring or Raising a Child

A quick-engaging read that was so unexpectedly good, I cannot believe they gave it away for FREE to Kindle subscribers! A rich and complex story about a gay man looking for something more in his life, some deeper purpose. On a whim he decides to mentor an at-risk youth. By the time he's finished the screening process and been paired up with his unlikely Little Brother, Douglas feels overwhelmed and unsure that his Little will like him but decides it's too late to back out and moves forward to give his best try. As they embark on the Big Brother/Little Brother relationship, both have their insecurities and uncertainties as they learn about one another and find they have a lot more in common than they ever realized. Over the course of the mentor relationship, Douglas sees his Little through foster care, placement back with his illegal immigrant mother, and trouble with the law. Through it all they become friends and ultimately family, as Douglas finds out there's more to mentoring than just ice cream and movies, reliving his own painful childhood memories in order to truly understand his role in this young man's life. This is a MUST read for anyone looking to mentor or raise a child!

Robert Shirley

Really Moving Story About Friendship and Surrogate Fatherhood

Great story about being a big brother, a father, a friend and most of all a support system. Please read this book and pass it along to a friend.

Kirkus Review

An Oregon man writes about his yearslong experience with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in this debut.

Douglas was living on a houseboat in a fairly posh part of metropolitan Portland in 2005 when he decided that he wanted to make a difference by helping at-risk youth. He’d seen a booth for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program at the Portland Pride Festival, was intrigued, and signed up. He was matched with Rico, a 12-year-old whose mother was an immigrant from Guatemala. At the time, the quiet, reserved Rico was living in foster care and had no objection to the match. Thus began the six-year-long story of their relationship, with early Frisbee games and movies evolving into Douglas playing a much greater role in Rico’s life, including attempting to steer him clear of gangs and drugs and to ensure that he graduated from high school. Although a Big Brother’s role is mainly to listen and be a friend, Douglas’ micromanaging approach was sometimes baffling to Rico, the author writes, as were his emotional demands. Douglas intersperses flashbacks to the 1970s throughout the Big Brother narrative and relates chilling tales of growing up gay in a strict, religious home. He also relates the story of Russell, his childhood friend and de facto bodyguard in school—a heroic figure who unfortunately descended into a life of crime. Douglas’ book does a beautiful job of connecting the past to the present, particularly in the sections that depict his blossoming relationship with his parents as they aged. His memories of being a gay teenager in the ’70s are also full of engaging personalities, sometimes monstrous and sometimes beautiful, which make the story hard to walk away from. As Rico grew up and Douglas’ involvement increased, the author broke a few Big Brother rules, particularly when he helped Rico out financially. Even so, Douglas’ compelling story moves toward a conclusion that’s a genuine testament to his tireless dedication to his Little Brother.

A moving memoir about struggling to form personal relationships in turbulent environments.