Friday, March 18, 2011
A breath of cold, fresh air.
I am an easy mark when it comes to interesting book titles. I am very likely to pick up books at random, if they have catchy titles. Even if I may not judge a book by its cover, I certainly give a lot of points for the title. It is very difficult to give a title to your work that embodies the spirit of what you have written and conveys its intensity. So when I heard about The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson, it certainly topped my to-read list. It took me a few years to get to it, but it reaffirmed my hypothesis of judging books! It is the most beautiful collection of essays collected in the form of a memoir. Though not strictly chronological in its narrative, it draws on a time line that is easy to follow. It is a fine line that an author has to walk when writing about one's own life. The "story" has to be interesting enough to hold the reader's attention while the subject has to be examined in detail with objectivity. In this book, Ms.Dickinson chronicles her journey from and back to her hometown, physically and figuratively in a manner that is unassuming and honest. The parts dealing with her divorce and early struggles in establishing herself while raising her daughter are candidly funny yet poignant. The narrative feels like you are sitting across the table from your friend, chatting over a (few) cup(s) of coffee. Her experiences of parenting, "dorkitude", living with aging family members and pets while making a life on her own come across as life lessons without being pretentious. The central theme of resilience and strength that comes from family ties almost feels like fiction. The descriptions of life in a small town in New York are so appealing that it makes you want to map it out and drive down for the weekend. I can't wait to read what Amy Dickinson writes next. Two-thumbs up!