Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson writes an advice column called "Ask Amy" in the well-known Chicago Tribune. She wrote a memoir with the complete title of The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, A Daughter, and the People Who Raised Them. While I haven't read very many memoirs in my life, I enjoyed this one so much that I would like to begin reading more!

Peter Sagal (author and the host of NPR's "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!") does a great job of summarizing the book, and I share his feelings exactly, "...Amy Dickinson shares her life story about love and loss, parents, daughters, aunts, fathers, pets and life from the mundane to the ridiculous to the quietly heartbreaking. Or, sometimes loudly heartbreaking, with great big honking sobs. Amy doesn't have all the answers, but she suggests a good place to find them: at home, with the people who love you."

Amy's father left her family when she was an adolescent, and her own husband leaves her as well, with a 2-year old daughter. However, Amy raised her daughter in a warm, loving atmosphere, just as her mother raised Amy and her siblings. All the women in the family seem so strong, capable and caring, even though they have dealt with disappointment, sadness and the breakup of marriage. Like her mother, Amy does not become bitter and cynical when she is left to raise a daughter on her own, but she maintains a sense of humor and positive attitude to prevail through the tough times.

I really connected with Amy throughout her memoir. She is honest about her experiences, and she is not overly emotional or humorous just for the story's sake. Though I enjoy humor, it really starts to annoy me there is tons of humor, especially sarcastic humor, but Amy is funny without trying too hard or becoming annoying. The following is a passage that I found to be quite funny, and which I could definitely say about myself as well, "I am crafty to a fault, by which I mean that anything handmade by me is usually delivered along with the phrase 'I'm sorry. It's all my fault.' " (113). Other things I share in common with Amy are her love of cats, and her delight of spending time in the home she grew up in. I also love that her daughter dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween!

The Mighty Queens of Freeville was a delightful read! It is fairly short, and could probably be read in one or two settings. I think women from the age of 20 to 80 would all enjoy this book!
(A special thanks to Hyperion for sending me this advanced reader's copy! The book will be released on Feb. 3, 2009).

Date completed: January 14, 2008
# of pages: 224

14 Comments:

Charley said...

This sounds like a wonderful memoir. I like the sound of strong, capable, and caring women.

Kari said...

I haven't read very many memoirs either, but after reading your review, this is one I will definitely have to pick up. I love stories that show the strength that women have and how they can keep their chins up and heads high even when things around them begin to crumble!

Thanks for a great review Laura!

Krystal A. said...

I love how Amy did not become bitter or cynical in tough times, but remained positive with a sense of humor. Regardless of what life hands me, my hope is that I, too, will adopt the same attitude.

Laura said...

Charley-I do too! It is nice to read about women who aren't whiny or have a "woe is me" attitude. That is what makes this memoir so nice to read!

Kari-We'll have to be on the lookout for more memoirs! I guess we'll be reading one soon for the book club--I wonder how they will compare?

Krystal-I agree--I wish I could maintain a positive outlook no matter what, but alas, that is not always the case with me. You, however, are one of the most positive people I know! :)

Literary Feline said...

I don't read a lot of memoirs, although I have a few in my TBR collection that I would like to read. This one sounds like a worthwhile one. Thank you for the great review, Laura.

Dar said...

I didn't read your full review Laura because I hope to be reading this one soon. I'll be back after I do. I did see that you enjoyed it so that's great.

Karen said...

This one sounds interesting Laura - I really like reading books that centre around strong women.

Trish said...

I like the new set up! This sounds like it would be a good one for the read-a-thon--I might have to borrow it from you. And I'm glad that you're liking memoires--I find that the more I read the more I like the genre.

Tiffany Norris said...

Sounds interesting!

cj said...

I'm not big on the memoir genre either, but this does sound interesting. Besides, I just finished one my niece recommended and thoroughly enjoyed it so I may give this one a try.

Oh, and I've nominated you for an award over at My Spiritual Journey
http://msjcj.blogspot.com/

cjh

Joy said...

Come check this out!

Diane said...

This book sounds like fun!

jenclair said...

I really enjoyed this one, too!

Michelle said...

I have just linked your review to my post of this review