Review: The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

imagedbThe Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson is a sweet memoir of Dickinson’s life growing up, and her life as a parent to daughter Emily, in a small town in upstate New York.

Full of humor and common sense, the book is about Amy’s life surrounded by an extended family of mostly women- mother, sisters, cousins, and aunts.  Divorce is a common bond in her family but there is no self pity here.  Amy comes from strong female stock.

Amy is the author of the syndicated advice column, Ask Amy, and while she never claims to know all the answers, she certainly knows where to get them- at home, from people who love you.  Amy left tiny Freeville to go to college and get married, moving to London with her husband and starting a family.  But when the marriage fell apart, she and her baby daughter come home to start over.  She leaves again to make a life on her own and start a career in Washington, DC, but frequent trips back home and a flexible schedule allow her to buy a small house on Main Street and spend summers in Freeville surrounded by the family, friends, and neighbors she grew up with.  This sense of community is a rare and wonderful thing in our highly mobile society, and it gives the book a nostalgic feel.

dickinson_lgChapters are by subject rather than chronological.  There is a chapter called Livestock in the Kitchen:  The Many Uses of Cats about the animals that have populated their lives.  The Apex of Dorkitude:  Dork, Like Me is about the dorky qualities Amy and her daughter share.  The Marrying Man is about Amy’s much married father.  Tea Alone: On Mothering without a Net is about single parenthood, which can be boiled down to this quote from page 40:

“Single parenthood is hard, but it’s simple too.

You just do everything yourself.”

Again- no pity party.  She’s just stating a fact.

I enjoyed this book and think it could make a great gift for any mother, but especially one who’s doing it alone and maybe resisting the support of family and friends.  Sometimes it’s good to swallow your pride and accept what’s being offered. Going home might seem like a step backwards, but families can prop us up, make us stronger, and help us grow and mature.     

Many thanks to Nicole at Authors on the Web for sending me the book.  You can check out the author’s website for more information.  Here’s the book trailer for The Mighty Queens of Freeville.  

12 Responses

  1. i love reading memoirs and essays–genres that don’t seem as popular as fiction out here in blog land. i have read amy’s column before and like her approach and style. i had no idea she had a book out–thanks for the tip. 🙂

  2. I love the name of the chapters! I think titles are very important for books, magazine articles, chapters, etc. If it’s creative and gets my attention I am much more likely to buy it.

  3. I enjoyed this book, but wanted to hear more about the other “queens” of Freeville.

  4. Nice review. I’ve still got this one on my shelf. Most reviews I’ve seen have been positive so I’m looking forward t it.

  5. Sounds like an interesting read. I’d love to know “Ask Amy” more personally, so I’ll put this on my list 🙂

  6. This sounds like a good one, Lisa. I can think of a couple of my friends off the bat who might enjoy this one . Great review!

  7. Spotted this one at Borders over the weekend and was intrigued by the cover! Definitely sounds like an interesting read — though I typically don’t read much non-fiction. I should be widening my horizons! Great review 🙂

  8. That’s cool how she divided the chapters like that. I most certainly want to read this book! Loved your review!

  9. This is on both mine and my mom’s ‘need to get to reading’ lists.

  10. I have been curious about this book, but yours is the first review I have read. It sounds fun, yet thoughtful. Glad you liked it, and great review!

  11. Loved it. You will laugh and cry at those moments of Amy’s life that defy the traditional frames of motherhood as she struggles to raise her daughter as a single parent.

  12. I loved this book but Bermudaonion makes a good point–I did think, going in, that there would be more about the other “queens.”

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