Friday, November 17, 2006

Fall Into Reading #4

"The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less" by Terry Ryan
I first became aware of this book by accidentally coming across the movie of the same name, starring Julieanne Moore, on a Saturday afternoon about a month ago. The movie so touched me that I knew I had to read the book that inspired it. Just like the movie this book touched me and did not disappoint. Terry Ryan writes of her family and mother during the '50's and early '60's when contesting was an American phenomenon. What was amazing about this book was how she wrote of her mother's love of prose and words and how she turned that love into a way of providing for her struggling family in the midst of an exceptionally hard life. Terry's father was an alcholic who was verbally and sometimes physically abusive and drank away all monies to provide for his family. What is so exceptional about this book was that Ms. Ryan did not dwell on the horrendous parts of an alcoholic's life. She tells just enough to let the reader in on how hard their life was but what she focuses on is the indomitable spirit of her mother who through a time where it was very difficult for a woman, especially one with 10 children, to leave an abusive husband and find any support, found a way to make things work with a cheerful spirit. There were no shelters and in that time women were looked at as the ones in the wrong if they left. Evelyn Ryan kept a positive attitude for her children, showing them that there are ways to find success even in the midst of hardship. Evelyn provided for her family using what talent she had, which was putting words together, and winning a myriad of contests, some just in the nick of time. She won everything from toasters, to sports equipment to cars and kept her family afloat. I laughed, I cried, it made me think and it made me desire to have a spirit of humility and determination in making the most of hard times like Evelyn did.

Click here to read a small excerpt of this wonderful story.

This book review is linked to Semicolon Saturday Review of Books.

14 comments:

Jane said...

This sounds like a really interesting book Susanne, I must admit I hadn't heard of it or the film, I must look out for them, Thanks for the review.

Air Force Family said...

Great review, Susanne. I've actually seen the movie and I really liked it. I'll have to look for the book on paperbackswap.com and read it.
Have a great day!

gail said...

I've seen the dvd in the rental store before and thought about getting it; had no idea it was a book! Great review and it sounds like a good one to add to my list. Maybe this time I can read the book before the movie, I've been doing the opposite lately!

Katrina said...

That sounds great. I hadn't heard of it before, but I'll definitely look into it. Thanks!

Beck said...

I've been really eager to read that book since it came out, and I'm so glad to hear that it's good!

Carol said...

I read the excerpt of when the boys drove the old car to the hospital. That was pretty good. Yeah. I'd like to read this.

Barb said...

I saw the movie too. And I loved it. It sounded so insignificant and yet it turned out to be one of the best movies I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Okay, you need to be in book sales. That sounds very inspiring, even to someone like me - the biggest thing I've ever won is a cake in a cake walk at the elementary carnival...

Barbie said...

This sounds like a great book. Something we could all here more of in our selfish culture.

Jennifer said...

Susanne--this sounds like a great book and one I would enjoy. You should link this up to semicolonblog.com. She does a book review roundup link each Saturday.

Carrie said...

I randomly picked up the movie as well and really liked it! I thought it was very well done in that it gave an accurate description of life with an alcoholic but didn't dwell on that aspect of their lives. I meant to pick up the book afterwards but forgot. Thanks for the review and reminder!

Sherry said...

I've been intending to read this book for quite a while. Thanks for leaving a link to your review.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, great review! I had heard about the movie but not the book. I'll have to look at my library for it, after reading your review.

P.S. I'm almost through with my challenge list :)

Kelly said...

I loved that movie as well. I will have to check out the book--thanks!