Mighty Queens of Freeville, The
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Millions of Americans know and love Amy Dickinson from reading her syndicated advice column -Ask Amy- and from hearing her wit and wisdom weekly on National Public Radio. Amy-s audience loves her for her honesty, her small-town values, and the fact that her motto is -I make the mistakes so you don-t have to.- In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares those mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent. Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women in her life taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. 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 the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family-s aptitude for -dorkitude.- They have lived in London, D.C., and Chicago, but all roads lead them back to Amy-s hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy-s family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within 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.

Customer Reviews:

  • A simple pleasure in a complicated life
    Who among us, especially single mothers, have not feared that our children might make the same mistakes we do? Who among us, wives, mothers, and sadly enough daughters, have survived so well when our hearts have been broken by the men in our lives who've left us? Who among us want to validate our lives by sharing our and their mistakes with others so that others can learn from us? Who better to be an advice columnist and author than the strong woman who has experienced mistakes, shared them with the older, wiser women in her life, and learned from them? This book is a casual, relaxing read that makes us realize the need to be grounded in our strongest roots. It is a simple pleasure to be enjoyed in solitude; like sipping red wine and nibbling chocolate while contemplating life....more info
  • Not quite so entertaining
    I don't think it is fair to judge another persons life, so I guess I am on the fence with giving a complete positive review. It was interesting till it seemed predictable and ho-hum. It played like a serial from a radio show of times long ago. I was bored with it. Perhaps I do NOT identify with the narrator, or that sister thing. It was trying to be too cute for it's own good. It got old fast. Sorry, but I am glad it is your life and not mine. When I write my memoirs then you can judge me too....more info
  • Humorous and Poignant
    Humorously written with pathos...any woman who thought her life would turn out differently than it did, but realize that it's okay anyway, should read this memoir. The choices one makess ad how one deals with those choices makes for an interesting person which Amy Dickinson is! Grea read....more info
  • The "Mighty Queens" scare off their kings
    I was browsing the library shelves on vacation when I stopped to consider this book. I read the upbeat description of a family that doesn't seem to want or need its men. I'm not a sister-chick sort of person, so I put it back. But I had enjoyed the fracas between Amy Dickinson and Margo Howard surrounding the whole "next Ann Landers" thing, so eventually I checked the book out.

    This is a good beach read; quick, lively and peopled with lovable characters in quaint places. But I never could get over my initial reaction, that underneath the "mighty queens" posturing, there's something seriously wrong with this clan. The author's father left, the author's husband left, in fact only one aunt has a husband and even the author's brother is estranged from the family.

    Family ties are great, but in this case they must be so estrogen-choked that they make "outsiders" (a.k.a., men) claustrophobic. When the author's husband leaves, he says he is tired of disappointing her. I felt bad for him then, not for Amy. I've seen these extended families that have standing weekly get-togethers and they're scary. I think I'd run, too. I can't imagine many men enjoying this book. If your family is riddled with females and divorce, though, go for it. ...more info
  • It's Okay
    I found this book kept my interest but I could easily put it down and come back to it in a few days. It seems the anecdotes are told out of order and this was annoying- I have no idea why she did that. There were a few funny spots, but I wouldn't say the writing is that humorous. All in all- mediocre....more info
  • Humility
    Memoirs tend to hit one extreme or another. Either the writer presents an idyllic life or one packed with unbearable troubles. Amy Dickinson tells her story with a lightness of touch that makes it all the more touching and real. She conveys her childhood without demonizing the father who abandoned his family. She presents the ways in which she raised her daughter as a single parent without railing against her ex-husband. Her success is presented as a matter of chance rather than skill, ambition and hard work. In all respects, she presents a humble personality, buoyed by a closely knit family, comprised of strong women, in a small town. These women carry on conversations that have no beginning and no end: they are always in motion. After one aunt dies in her eighties, her sister commented that she wished she knew her better. This is after spending every day of their lives in contact. Dickinson's wit and fine writing will bring pleasure to many readers.

    Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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  • The Mighty Queens of Freeville
    In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson tells about her life as a single mother. Amy was married for a few years, and moved from the States to London because of her husband's job. By her early thirties, she finds herself divorced with a 2 year old. Having come from a family where divorce is more common than not, Amy had really hoped for a happy marriage that lasted. Her marriage came to an end when her husband, who was barely home due to his work, asked for a divorce. Later on, he admits to having cheated on Amy. She moves back to her small hometown of Freeville and hopes to make a new life for herself and her daughter. Then Amy does what she was meant to do, she becomes an advice columnist.

    The way Amy narrates her story, the way she describes the moment, you can almost imagine her and it almost feels like she can be someone you know in real life.
    All the while Amy's extended family and friends, which consists of mostly women, these 'Mighty Queens of Freeville', help and support her. Her own father left her family and once in a while pops back up into thier lives. Amy winds up having a bit of closure in the end. This was another aspect of Amy's life I could relate to. I think this is why I liked this book so much, I felt like I could connect with it.

    I really enjoyed The Mighty Queens of Freeville. It was funny, sweet, sad and moving all at once. I laughed out loud more than once. ...more info
  • Feel Good
    Your favorite bathrobe, your Birkenstocks, a bowl of Tapioca, whatever your favorite comfort is that is what I felt I was getting as I read more and more of Amy Dickinson's, The Mighty Queens of Freeville.

    I read a lot of books of varying genre and topics, literary fiction, lots of memoirs, mysteries, and on and on. It seems that the subject matter can be more and more dramatic and touch lots of raw nerve these days. It seems the more dicey the subject matter, the more attention the press gives it, and it becomes the latest syndrome that everyone pulls up from their or their own family's past.

    What I realized early on as I read Amy's memoir, was there were still everyday people out there that may have had the regular ups and downs in their lives but not the heavy, heavy, earth-shattering kind of drama that seems to be coming up on a regular basis. They weren't completely free of pain or grief but the majority of their life was committed just sharing and learning from one another the value of family, of supporting the ones you love and caring about them to the best of your ability.

    It was refreshing, and reaffirming to read about "normal" people across this land. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Maybe because "reality" TV tries to make us think we are "not normal", it was time for this book to come along and remind us what normal family life can be like. Thank you Amy, for bringing back some normalcy to my reading life.
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  • Memoir celebrating community, family and women
    Family relationships, values and friendships have always been important to Amy. While growing up she had especially strong bonds with the females in her life. Now that she is older she wonders if it is a curse or a blessing that all of the important people in her life are women. Even the women in her life, (her mother, most of her sisters, and her friends) can' t seem to hold onto the men in their lives at all. Her father just up and left when she was young, her brother doesn't speak to them, and her aunts (all but one) are divorced. Amy, seeing the doom is decidedly going to break the mold, determined that her marriage will be a success, it will be but not in the way she expects. The fruit of her attempt at marriage gives her a beautiful daughter, which she now gets to raise amongst the Mighty Queens of Freeville.

    This is a memoir by Amy Dickinson, the author of the syndicated advice column ASK AMY and also an NPR contributor. The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, A Daughter and the People Who Raised Them is an interesting read, and I did like it, however I didn't love it. I think if I could have related more I would have enjoyed it more. I grew up with the stronger relationships in my family being male, I have a loving mother, but we just didn't have much in common. My brother was my ultimate soccer buddy, and we always had guy friends, now that I am older I see the value in female friendships, but for a long time I would have chosen a guy over a gal any day. Guys just made more sense to me, they fought it out, played it out and didn't play any manipulation games or talk about their feelings all the time (at least the ones I knew).

    Yet, I did enjoy the community in this memoir, I loved reading of their weekly gatherings for breakfast at the same little diner, and their random spur of the moment gatherings which occurred almost daily. I love strong family ties, I think they keep people out of trouble, those who are most connected to loving families seem to know that they are loved and are secure. I found this in the Mighty Queens of Freeville. No matter what happened she had a sense of security that was beyond herself, it was the bonds of the mighty queens, who were always strong enough for the weakest link.

    For all my reviews visit B&b ex libris: [...]...more info
  • Delightful Reading
    Let me correct a misunderstanding about this book. If you, like me, thought it was a book about women and sisters and mothers and daughters, all sharing bonding moments together ... it's not. This is why it has a three star rating instead of a four or even a five. The writing is good and conversational. It's quick and easy, but I still came away from the book knowing less about the author than I did when I picked it up. It was more about her and her daughter, living alone after Amy's divorce.

    There are comical moments and funny writing in this book. You can hear the author telling the story in a wry voice which makes it even funnier. Amy Dickinson steps in to fill Ann Lander's shoes and while I don't get the "Ask Amy" column in my newspaper, my parents do, I think. We get "Annie's Mailbox" and "Dear Abby" in our newspapers, but I don't think I have read "Ask Amy." I'd like to because if she's funny in this book, I imagine she's funny in her columns. Anyhow, this book is more about the relationship she has with her daughter after the divorce. Her sisters and mother and aunts all were huge help in salving the wounds she suffered in the divorce. But the stories were light on them.

    I am not a single mother by any means but my husband works a lot of hours and strange hours, so there have been times when I do feel like a single mother. This memoir touches a lot on that issue of raising a child on your own. What tickles me is how "nerdy" she is with Emily. Instead of signing her up for every single sports/ballerina/dance classes, she takes her to musuems and zoos and travels across the country to home in Freeville, NY. That child is blessed in spite of the fact that she may not have the traditional family structure. Dickinson was a very involved mother and it shows in her book. Between cats and school, Halloween, idyllic summers at home, it sounds very peaceful, though I am sure it wasn't at times.

    If you like to read about mother/daughter relationships, this is an easy one to read. Just don't expect all the family ties as the title suggested. They're there, but just in scant details. This book would make a perfect mother's day present for your mom if she's into reading. It's sweet, cute and sassy. Perfect for the upcoming summer vacation!

    3/17/09...more info