The Week In Books, No. 38

I wasn’t sure how I would like The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less
but I loved it. I laughed out loud at many points, and I cried at the end. Seriously. And I rarely ever do that. The book is a biography of the author’s mother, who managed to give her 10 children a joyful and rich upbringing in spite of the poverty they suffered due to her husband’s alcoholism. The author paints such a wonderful picture of her mother, of how fun and funny she was, and how the children totally adored her. I thought it was really inspirational. The main topic of course, is how her mother entered all the contests of the 1950s and 60s – writing limericks, essays, advertisements and so forth, and how they won things with perfect timing. The rhymes were really clever and funny, although my favorite one from the book was written by the author when she was 10 and trying to help her mother with a Dial soap ad:

I’m glad I use Dial;
Now I don’t smell
So peculiah.

I also thought it was a great idea that the mother would leave a notebook on the kitchen table with a line on it, then any of the kids was welcome to write the next line of the poem, and so on. I think that sounds like fun, plus teaches kids about rhyme and meter.

All in all, a great book, a quick read, and I highly recommend it. (HT: Nicole B. for the recommendation!)

I also read, and greatly enjoyed, Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul: Inspiration to Renew Your Spirit
by Angela Thomas Guffey. The book is based on the idea that mothers need to take care of themselves spiritually, even though that is sometimes hard to do in the midst of mothering. I really needed this encouragement, especially the sections on prayer and on “doing the right thing.” I was really challenged to think about how my struggles with being a perfectionist/overachiever can spill over into how I parent, and how I need to make sure that my desire to see them grow up well doesn’t turn into a graceless series of impossible expectations. Some parts of this book were more relevant to me than others, but I’d recommend it to mothers out there. (Again thanks to Nicole B for her great recommendations!)

Also Reading:
Psalms, Jeremiah, Matthew, Acts
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte (out loud to Hannah, and sometimes to Jack if he is awake)
“March” by Geraldine Brooks

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