Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

Boy am I pumped up to review "The Mighty Queens of Freeville"! And not just because its my very first ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) from Hyperion (who-hooo!!! Doing my happy dance here), but also because I absolutely adored this memoir!!

I actually don't read that many memoirs, because I'm afraid I'll end up bored and trudging my way through it, but I found Amy Dickinson to be a pure delight. Some of you might know her from her advice column, "Ask Amy" that appears in more than 200 newspapers. The stories and events she would describe were not always easy to read, but what struck me the most was her amazing perspective and positive outlook even after such difficult circumstances. I truly believe that you can allow something devastating to destroy you by making you an angrier individual, or you can allow it to mold you and define your character, making you wise and stronger.

I was probably close to halfway through this book when my cat got really ill and I was so distraught that I could focus on nothing but her well being. And because of all this distraction, I had to take a bit of a break from reading for close to a week. Right after the chaos subsided, I eagerly picked it back up only to read Chapter 6, "Livestock In the Kitchen" and sat there on my couch with tears running down my face as she shared the story of her own sick cat Pumpkin. Holy cow. It was like my best girl friend sitting there sharing her story and we were laughing and crying together. That's really what I loved about Amy's writing, she wrote as if she were having a conversation with you one-on-one over a hot cup of coffee in your comfy sweats. I swear I was laughing with her one minute and crying the next.

Thank you Betsy at Hyperion for sending me this gem of a memoir!

Description: Amy Dickinson has made a career out of helping others, through her internationally syndicated advice column "Ask Amy." Readers love her for her honesty, her small-town values, and for the fact that her motto is "I make the mistakes so you don't have to." In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares those mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent. Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women of her family taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. It is a story of frequent failures and surprising successes, as Amy starts and loses careers, bumbles through blind dates and adult education classes, travels across the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family's aptitude for "dorkitude." Though they live in London, D.C., and Chicago, all roads lead them back to her hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy's family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within a ten-house radius of each other. With kindness and razor-sharp wit, they welcome Amy and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.

For more info, you can go to the website http://www.themightyqueensoffreeville.com/

Rating: ****

Recommend: Definitely.

6 comments:

Staci said...

I don't mind reading memoirs as long as their true and interesting!! Great review.

Holly said...

This looks great. Terrific review.

Ti said...

This book looks great! I'm sorry your kitty friend was ill. Cat's do not do well when ill. They try to be so self-sufficient so it's hard to tell when they are really bad.

On a side note, I love the new banner! I was just here a week or two ago so the change must be pretty recent.

Janssen said...

I love a good memoir - thanks for the review!

Katrina Hope said...

you are such a fantastic book reviewer...it worries me a little, thinking it is YOU who ought to be the writer, not me. :) You should find a way to cash in on your ability- you really are so wonderful to read Kimmers :)

Love you.
Kati

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww... such a sweet thing to say.. You sound like you know her pretty well, Katrina Hope - almost like a sister... :-)