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BOOK REVIEW:
THE MIGHTY QUEENS OF FREEVILLE
BY AMY DICKINSON

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



When the Chicago Tribune decided to launch a nationwide search to replace Ann Landers after her death, Amy Dickinson knew it was the job for her. And so, this NPR show host and panelist became overnight a nationally recognized celebrity. People frequently ask her how she comes up with her answers to people's letters. This book, The Mighty Queens of Freeville, answers that question.

As the recipient of much unsolicited advice from her family over the years, it is now her turn to dish out the advice. Drawing from her life's experiences, the person behind “Ask Amy” gives readers a heartwarming look at her life-a life filled with tearful and laugh out loud funny moments far from the glamorous life one would expect from a national figure. For whatever reason, her mother, aunts, sisters and herself have not been very successful in marriage. Although they maintain friends with their former spouses, for the most part, Dickinson's family consists of only women, most of whom live in the small town of Freeville, New York. These women are the queens referred to in the book.

The book is divided into chapters that serve as individual vinaigrettes of Dickinson's life. Starting with the breakup of her marriage through raising her daughter to adulthood and finally the author's “new life,” each chapter offers, along with her life story, some interesting insight into life in general. Being an animal person, I especially enjoyed the chapter titled “Livestock in the Kitchen: the Many Uses of Cats” which not only gives the story of a much loved orange cat named Pumpkin, but also a sort of primer of life with animals-dairy cows included. For those familiar with Sunday Schools and small community churches, there's “Making Peanut Jesus: Finding God in the Community of Faith and Casseroles.” Here's a hint-the Peanut Jesus is a Sunday school craft… and it does not end well.

Finally, the chapter that should be required reading for all junior high aged kids as well as their parents, is “The Apex of Dorkitude:Dork, Like Me.” Reading this chapter I laughed so many times, but only because my children are grown. I only wish they could have read something like this when they were twelve going on twenty.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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