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.  

The Sunday Salon

tssbadge3It’s Sunday! Wonderful Sunday! I hope everybody had a good week.

Today my family is preparing to ship our oldest off to 6th grade camp in the mountains for a week. She is super excited. I’ve been giving the Sharpie a workout, writing her name on everything (“Does everything I own have to have my images-12name on it?” “According to your teacher, yes.”) Her biggest concern is that she won’t like the food and that she’ll be hungry, and I worry about that too since she is underweight to begin with and extremely picky. I told her she will just have to eat whatever is offered or go without. I’ve tried to adapt that rule at home but usually I cave in and let her eat something other than what the rest of us are having, just to get some calories in her. Yes, I’ve created a (finicky) monster. Maybe this week at camp will change that.

images3My book club meets today here at my house. I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon cleaning, and today I will spend a good chunk of my morning making chicken enchiladas for later. Sheri will be mixing up the margaritas (she claims to be a pro!) and then we’ll sit down to discuss Sarah’s Key. We’re sending the kids (hers and mine) and my husband across the street to another book club member’s house so the guys can watch March Madness while our kids babysit my neighbor’s 4 year old twins.

During my clean up for book club I had to move my pile of books waiting to be read and reviewed. NOT my huge TBR pile of books without deadlines, but the ones that I have committed to reviewing. I did some quick mental calculations (3 times 4, carry the 1… where the hell is my calculator???) and found that I need to read about 4,800 pages before the end of April. That doesn’t include my book for book club, to be discussed on the first Sunday in May, another 300+ pages. So that’s about 128 pages of reading daily. The problem is, I secret-keeperaverage about 50 ppd (pages per day), with occasional gusts of up to 200 ppd. But some days I don’t have time (or I’m too tired) to read at all. I think I need to start saying no to the review books for a while, before I crack under the pressure!

I signed a new client this week- Paul Harris and his book, The Secret Keeper, will be on tour with TLC beginning mid-May. I hadn’t heard about this book before, but it sounds really exciting!

This week I finished Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson (still need to write the review) and got about 2/3rds of the way through The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson. I hope to finish that tonight, unless Sheri is reeeeeeally good at mixing margaritas.

Enjoy your Sunday! What are you reading this week?