New Publication: A Memoir that Explores Father/Son Conflict & My Commitment to At-Risk Kids

Posted: April 12, 2018 in Abused youth, at risk youth, Child/parent conflict, Father/Son relationships, Gender issues, LGBT youth, Parenting, Social Justice
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This honest, heartbreaking, and at times funny memoir is the story of a boy who is attracted to other boys and his coming of age in the tumultuous 60s. It follows David as he rejects a church that condemns him, resists a country’s readiness to send him into a war he opposes, and stands up to a tyrannical father who controls him with a hard fist and an iron will. It is a tender yet courageous tale, one that in the end brings David to a hard-won acceptance of his sexuality, and an unexpected peace with his dying father.

Tightfisted Heart is also a prequel to I Don’t Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup which chronicled David’s ten years teaching incarcerated teenagers.  His new memoir explores the underpinnings of his lifelong dedication to helping at-risk youth. It offers insights into how the harsh circumstances of his own upbringing and his experiences as a marginalized gay kid shaped his commitment to social justice, in particular, to teaching “throw-away” young people in various “special needs” settings—in rehab, a psychiatric hospital, a community alternative high school as well as an adult prison.

Tightfisted Heart is available at Amazon and Levellers Press


  1. Janet says:

    I made a comment earlier which didn’t appear. I just want to say I’m sure this is an amazing book penned by an amazing person and writer. It will also continue to help kids, something Dave apparently can’t avoid!!

    • David Chura says:

      Thanks, Janet, for your generous comment. Something happened to the previous post and I had to reblog. It seems that those of us who work with at-risk kids get hooked by their vulnerability and can’t give up. I know, in my case, seeing my own youthful fragileness in the young people I worked with fueled my wanting to make their lives better. It is something I explore in “Tightfisted Heart.” Hope all is well with you in the North Country.

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