Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville

The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them by Amy Dickinson

Dickinson is the advice columnist for "Ask Amy" which replaced Ann Launders' long-time advice column. After reading this memoir, I think I would like to read her column. The Mighty Queens is an account of Dickinson's life as a single mother after her painful divorce, mixed with memories of her childhood in the small town of Freeville.

With each chapter following a theme in her life, rather than simply following chronological order, this is as much a book of essays as it is a memoir, and Dickinson's wry but clear-eyed view of the world is reminiscent of Garrison Keillor in some way. It was a sweet and charming read, and reminds me to keep faith in every day normal people.

Here's a quote from her chapter about teaching Sunday school and her church experiences:

Some people preach from the pulpit, moving people toward belief or action. Others, like our Freeville neighbors, minister by sharing their joys and concerns, by cooking and selling chickens, or by dressing in their bathrobes and standing in the cold while they demonstrate their faith to the community. All of us had something in common - the desire to show up, to be a witness to others, and to patiently await a miracle.

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