Customer Reviews for

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less

Average Rating 4.5
( 37 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    Compelling Memoir

    This is certainly one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Evelyn Ryan's strength is unbelievable; it is her determination that keeps her family from falling apart. It was very interesting to see all the circumstances that woman had to fight against during this time period. I was shocked to see how much dominance husbands had over their wives. If one is not familiar with American history, this book will serve as somewhat of an eye-opener to the role of women. A cult of domesticity becomes very apparent because it is simply expected of women to tend to all of the household needs, and what they do is not even considered work. Studying history certainly enhanced my enjoyment of this book. I really expected that, given its circumstances, this story was going to be depressing. Although some parts were sad, on the whole, the story was very uplifting. It made me appreciate hard work and the value of family. It really made me appreciate my own mother's work in the home as well. I also loved how the multiple facets of "Mother's" and "Dad's" character were shown. Mother could not be strong at all times, and Dad was not a complete monster-he did care for her very much. I believe that this stresses the important lesson that every single person has both flaws and redeeming qualities. The memoir demonstrates that Tuff learns this lesson, because she is the author and she shows positive characteristics about her father. I would honestly recommend this book to anybody. In my opinion, it has everything: good morals, a suspenseful story, and very realistic characters. This is probably because the book is a true story-which, to me, makes it even more compelling. Terry Ryan (Tuff) certainly led a very interesting life, and she captures the ups and downs brilliantly in this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    Great Book

    I read this book and then watched the movie. I have to say I liked the book better than the movie. This book inspired me to enter more contests and complete more surveys for cash. I always thought it wasn't possible to win contests, but this book has changed my mind. I doubt that I could be as lucky or clever as this lady was, but I have found some fun things to enter for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2001

    BEAUTIFULLY TOLD AND READ

    Evelyn Ryan, a housewife with ten children, managed to literally keep the wolf from the door with her winning ways. Married to an abusive husband who drank the family's sole income as quickly as he earned it, Evelyn sought help from her priest. He advised her to sit tight. A nun suggested she take in laundry. More laundry was all she needed. So, equipped with nothing more than ready wit, determination, and cockeyed optimism she did what many did during the 1950s - she entered every contest imaginable and she won. Whether Dr. Pepper, Kleenex tissues or a supermarket buying spree, she brought home enough to house, feed, and clothe her six sons and four daughters. Once, when her husband had secretly taken out a second mortgage on their home and they owed the bank $4,000, she won $3,440.64, a car, a European trip, and two watches. Always thinking and writing, she kept a notepad at the ready on the tip of her ironing board. Miraculously, she even managed to leave her children a modest inheritance. But, more than that, this remarkable woman left them a legacy of love and the awareness of the indomitability of the human spirit. Beautifully and touchingly read by the author (child no. 6).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2001

    Tastes great, less filling; Mom's great, keeps winning!

    A touching memoir which lovingly evokes the era of contesting in America. Before companies hired expensive ad agencies to create slogans, jingles, tag lines and logos, they turned to the housewives for help via these contests. I was moved by Evelyn Ryan's struggle to support her huge family in a time when few women had careers. The book demonstrated how so many women, though relegated to the role of housewives, were still able to find outlets for their talents, wits and intellects. I enjoyed the humor of Mrs. Ryan's entries and can't believe she didn't win the top prizes more often! This book reminded me of 'Rocket Boys' in that it drills home the message that, despite harrowing odds and crushing poverty, dreams can come true with a bit of ingenuity and lots of persistence.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2001

    For Bliss in Reading, It's This You're Needing

    Mere words can not fully convey the enjoyment I felt reading this book, or the impact its story had on me. Terry Ryan's story makes her mother a hero to all of us, serves as inspiration for making the most of what we have, and provides a better understanding of the challenges that many of our parents faced during this time. Her story is interesting, funny, charming, and best of all - true! I couldn't put this book down; it was thoroughly engaging, entertaining, and superbly written. With each chapter, I could barely wait to read on and find out what happened next... the only disappointment was getting to the end - - not that the ending itself was disappointing (quite the opposite, in fact, as the story was very satisfying) - - rather, I enjoyed Ryan's writing so much that I never wanted it to end!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    An enjoyable read. So glad I happened upon it.

    An enjoyable read. So glad I happened upon it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Great read!

    One of the best memoirs I have read yet. Definitely reccomend. It is funny, inspiring and a great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    Inspiring true story..

    Evelyn Ryan shows us, through her ingenuity, how hard work and creativity can get you through the tough times.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    i love this story

    as a teen we dont really read novels, well except if its required at school. But this one's awsome. I loved it and it is so touching. The best part is its real life story and I could relate to it in some circumstances. I also saw the movie and i loved it too. I've watched it more than 5 times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2006

    Moving, Touching and Inspirational

    I loved this book! I am usually a romatic comedy reader, but the notion that anyone could raise 10 children and do so by largely entering contests inspired me. Like the other readers, I had a hard time putting this book down. It's a must read for anyone who needs an uplifting, warm your heart story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2005

    The triumph of one woman's spirit

    Memoirs are always special - real people, real lives - but the Prize Winner is especially poignant because it tells the story of a truly amazing woman who refuses to be beaten down by the circumstances of her marriage and the dictates of her religion. Instead of succumbing to poverty and domestic violence, Mrs. Ryan uses her talents to uplift herself and her family and to protect her children from the negative effects of their environment. Evelyn Ryan was a woman of great dignity, wit, ingenuity, and humor, a true lady. Because of her, Tuff is able to write a memoir that is always upbeat and hopeful, even in the direst of circumstances.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2005

    A winner in every way

    From the moment I picked up this wonderful book, I was completely hooked! And by the time I put it down, I felt that I knew Evelyn Ryan in person. What an inspirational and amazing woman she was. Never giving into defeat, and always believing that anything was possible, this has to be one of the best books to hit the shelves in recent years. And better still, there's now a movie out based on Terry Ryan's true story about her mother. It'll make you laugh-out-loud, and it'll make you cry. But you will never forget it. A true winner in every sense of the word!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2005

    This book is one of the best I have ever read!

    This is a wonderful, delightful story of a wonderful, delightful woman who always saw through to the positive side of what life threw at her. She is the kind of Mother everyone would love to have, so loving to her children and friends, so protective of her children. Smart and witty with a real flare for jingles, essays, short stories and contests. 'Tuff' wrote a beautiful testimonial to her Mother, Evelyn. You will laugh, cry, feel happiness and anger as you read about Evelyn Ryan and her family. The only disappointed I have associated with this book is that so soon after I 'discovered' and read this wonderful book, I read it has been made into a movie. I plan on seeing the movie, but I hope the movie doesn't spoil the good feelings I have in my heart after reading this book. I plan on recommending this book to my Book Club.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2002

    Houston, Texas

    I watched an interview with the author on CNN and decided to buy the book. I read the book in one night! The Prize Winner is the mother and she supplemented the family's one income by entering corporate jingle contests. The book is written by one of the Prize Winner's daughters. I have great admiration for the Prize Winner in her determination to raise her children with some dignity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2002

    A GOOD READ

    This was a cute, clever story about a resourceful mother. Family ties and relationships are explored. I will recommend this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2002

    Capturining Small town life

    This book broke my heart. It's wonderful and funny and sad. A simple story told beautifuly about a remarkable woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    A Truely Wonderful Story

    I read this book after my mother-in-law highly recommended it. She said that she read it in a couple of days, barely able to put it down. I did the same! It was a joyous yet sad story of a woman who would be an inspiration to anyone who reads of her life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2002

    I remember the contest era since that is why we had a TV

    I enjoyed Terry Ryan's book about her mother's contesting. My mother 'contested' as a hobby. She wrote and my father(an architect) created the presentation. They were a good team and subsequently we were among the first to have a TV and frequently went free to ice shows and other entertainment events. I enjoy the perspective and the reminiscing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2001

    BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE FOR A WONDERFUL MOTHER!

    I read this book in a little over a day. Couldn't put it down! A very entertaining read. Mrs. Ryan was one in a million!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2001

    Great Read!

    This book by Terry Ryan Left me laughing and a'cryin'. Read it from dusk 'til dawn, Never once did I yawn!! I've been inspired! You don't read this book, you inhale it!

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
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