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.  

100K Celebration Giveaway from Random House!

Not wanting to miss out on the party, Rochelle at Random House has jumped in and offered some fabulous titles to my readers! I’m so excited!

Ok, Ok.. lemme see… yep, Rochelle said 5 (five) FIVE!! copies of each title- WOW! Ok, ok. Let’s do this- we will pick Two Grand Prize winners who will receive all 3 titles! And then a whole bunch of other winners (9? Is that right??!!) who will get one title each!  ARE WE HAVING FUN YET??????

51luakxjkrl_sl500_aa240_ Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother by Meg Federico (Just released in hardcover this week!)

About the book:
The adventure begins when Meg’s mother, Addie, vacationing in Florida, takes a spill. At the hospital, Addie bolts upright on her gurney and yells “I demand an autopsy!” before passing out cold.

“One minute, she is unconscious, the next, she’s nuts,” observes Meg Federico in this hilarious and poignant memoir of taking care of eighty-year-old Addie and her relatively new (and equally old) husband, Walter, in their not-so-golden years.

With a fresh voice and a keen eye for the absurd, Meg Federico writes a story that will resonate with the generation now caring for their parents. Welcome to the Departure Lounge is a moving and madcap chronicle of a family–their moments of joy, the memories they’d rather forget, and the just plain loopiness of their situation. “How’s life at the Departure Lounge?” Meg’s brother asks. Meg doesn’t know where to start. “Let’s just say the drinks are outrageous, and they never run out of nuts.”

41mgmxucf6l_sl500_aa240_ American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (Just released in paperback this week!)

About the book:
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with–and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband’s presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.

The author’s website is HERE.

3 Gardens of Water by Alan Drew (Just released in paperback this week!)

About the book:
Gardens of Water is an enthralling story of two families, and two faiths, in Turkey at the time of the cataclysm of 1999. It tells of Sinan, whose daughter, Irem, dreams of escaping the confines of her family and the duties of a devout Muslim woman. She sees in Dylan, an American boy and her upstairs neighbor, the enticing promise of another life. But then a massive earthquake forces Sinan and his family to live as refugees in their own country and leads to a dangerous intimacy with their American neighbors, as Irem and Dylan fall in love. When Sinan finds himself entangled in a series of increasingly dangerous decisions, he will be pushed toward a final betrayal that will change everyone’s lives forever. Powerful and beautifully written, Alan Drew’s Gardens of Water marks the debut of a brilliant new American writer.

Check out the author’s website HERE

This 100K Party is in full swing now!!  Leave a comment by Thursday, February 19th, for a chance to win one, or possibly all three, of these great Random House titles!  Blog about it and come back with the link, and you’ll get 3 extra chances!  (So sorry, international peeps, this is only open to residents of the US and Canada).

<———————-More stuff to win over there.. go see..