Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

Five years ago, after an exhaustive countrywide search, the Chicago Tribune announced Amy Dickinson as the next Ann Landers. They wanted a contemporary voice and they found it. Bracingly witty and honest, Amy’s voice is more Nora Ephron than Dear Abby. Readers love her for her brutal honesty, her small-town values, and for the fact that her motto is "I make the mistakes so you don’t have to." Her advice column, "Ask Amy," appears daily in more than 150 newspapers nationwide, read by more than 22 million readers.

In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson takes those mistakes and spins them into a remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the women in her family who helped raise them after Amy’s husband abruptly left. 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 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 original hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny upstate village where Amy’s family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for over 200 years. Most important though, her family has made more family there, and they all still live in 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.

About Amy Dickinson:
Amy Dickinson is the author of the syndicated advice column "Ask Amy," which appears in more than 150 newspapers nationwide, and the host of a biweekly feature on NPR’s "Talk of the Nation." Formerly a columnist for Time magazine, she lives in Chicago.

I signed up for the Barnes and Noble First Look Club and was absolutely thrilled to receive this book. The rules of the club are that you post under their question headings and follow along chapter by chapter so as not to post spoilers of upcoming chapters. I have been sick since the book discussion started but will start posting soon.
I enjoyed the book but I wasn't overly enthused about it. The way that Amy wrote her story made her a very likeable person and someone who I would like to know... but the stories themselves were not so inspiring. I found her narrative of the events in her life to be quite scattered...nothing seemed to flow from one chapter to another and aside from how her life mirrored her mother' did that make her a "Mighty Queen"?
I believe that all single mothers doing their best and striving for the best life for their families are Mighty Queens but I don't believe that the women that Amy Dickinson portrayed in this memoir are shown to be Mighty Queens even if they are so in real life...not enough evidence.
Of course...this is just my humble opinion and the book was a pleasant read just not fleshed out enough for me.
3 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

sharonanne said...

I got this one too and have yet to post in the club. I couldn't get into it so, but I am still going to try and at least post about what I did read.