The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them

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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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"I didn't become an advice columnist on purpose," writes Dickinson (author of the syndicated column "Ask Amy") in her chapter titled "Failing Up." In the summertime of 2002, after spending months living off of her credit cards between freelance writing jobs, Dickinson sent in an audition column to the Chicago Tribune and became the paper's replacement for the late Ann Landers. Here, Dickinson traces her own personal history, as well as the history of her mother's family whose members make up the "Mighty Queens" of Freeville, N.Y., the small town where Dickinson was raised, and where she raised her own daughter between stints in London; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago. Dickinson writes with an honesty that is at once folksy and intelligent, and brings to life all of the struggles of raising a child (Dickinson was a single mother) and the challenges and rewards of having a supportive extended family. "I'm surrounded by people who are not impressed with me," Dickinson humorously laments. "They don't care that my syndicated column has twenty-two million readers." Dickinson's irresistible memoir reads like a letter from an upbeat best friend. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Amy Dickinson, the "Ask Amy" syndicated advice columnist, serves up a sustaining slice of life in this warm-hearted memoir about her small-town roots. Through divorce, single motherhood and a variety of jobs, Amy knows she can count on her family of largely women, the so-called "Mighty Queens," for love, support and common sense. And so though she may live in London, Washington, DC, or Chicago, she keeps heading home to Freeville, New York (population: 458) with her growing daughter for long weekends, holidays and summers. Amy reflects on her life with wit and good humor and shares with the reader much of the good advice she has received from others. My favorite tidbit comes from her work as a nursery school teacher when toddlers taught her "to be in the moment, to play with abandon, to nap when you need to, and to preserve your friendships by saying ‘I'm sorry' when necessary." Amy is quick to give thanks throughout for the strong, kind women in her life. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
Kirkus Reviews
In a gutsy debut memoir about family, resolve and the secret of survival, farm girl turned advice columnist Dickinson plows to the root of her down-to-earth American know-how. The straight-shooting successor to Ann Landers, Dickinson's previous claims to fame include the community auction of household possessions to square a debt accrued by her absent father, teaching Sunday school, harboring Holsteins and mastering single motherhood. In the late 1980s, Dickinson's adulterous, soon-to-be-ex-husband walked out on her, and she recoiled to her banal hometown of Freeville, N.Y., with toddler daughter Emily. Dejected, fond of therapeutic cigarette smoking in the tub, she was steadily buttressed by patient pillars of female kin and finally traded the bathroom for a fresh start in Washington, D.C. Like a quarterback reacting to a testy defensive line, she called snap plays for first dates, odd jobs, solo parenting, disastrous home repairs and pet surgery. Hectic yet reflective, Dickinson's mind constantly searched for life lessons in her mistakes while pondering how to present these aberrations as worldly insights to her daughter-a thought process which now endears 22 million readers daily to her column, "Ask Amy." Real-life situations were forever testing her, from damage control after a high-school choir accident to the humiliating Laura Ingalls Wilder Halloween costume. Regardless, Dickinson's crisis-filled playbook had two constants: candor and Freeville coaching. No fumble was without its rewards according to Freeville women, portrayed here as resilient blends of Marmee March and Calamity Jane. An unabashed, self-pity-free, landmine-filled love letter to a rocky past, credited for theauthor's current success and happiness. Author tour to Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, New Orleans, New York, Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. Agent: Elyse Cheney/Elyse Cheney Literary Associates
Adriana Trigiani
"Common sense, a practical nature, and a searing sense of social justice are the hallmarks of Amy Dickinson's advice column. Now, in a delicious and hilarious memoir, Amy gives us her worldview via Main Street with wit and originality, through her own bejeweled binoculars. The view is never, for a moment, self-indulgent. She's a wise and fair queen for sure. Long Live Amy!"
Laura Zigman
"The Mighty Queens of Freeville is great American storytelling at its best. A tale of promise postponed and scrappy survival, Amy Dickinson's glorious triumphs are like rabbits pulled out of a hat, one after another after another. Full of hope and humor and big simple truths, it is a story told with grace and without a trace of cynicism. This is a book you will love and one you will be truly sad to finish."
Noah Adams
"Reading Amy's book in bed. Wife to me: 'Is it good?' Me to wife: 'Sure, but what do I care, I'm a guy' Wife to me: 'Then why are you crying?'"
Peter Sagal
"In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares her life story about love and loss, parents, daughters, aunts, fathers, pets, and life from the mundane to the ridiculous to the quietly heartbreaking. Or, sometimes loudly heartbreaking, with great big honking sobs. Amy doesn't have all the answers, but she suggests a good place to find them: at home, with the people who love you."
From the Publisher
"The Mighty Queens of Freeville is great American storytelling at its best. A tale of promise postponed and scrappy survival, Amy Dickinson's glorious triumphs are like rabbits pulled out of a hat, one after another after another. Full of hope and humor and big simple truths, it is a story told with grace and without a trace of cynicism. This is a book you will love and one you will be truly sad to finish."—Laura Zigman, author of Animal Husbandry

"Reading Amy's book in bed. Wife to me: 'Is it good?' Me to wife: 'Sure, but what do I care, I'm a guy' Wife to me: 'Then why are you crying?'"—Noah Adams, author of Piano Lessons

"In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares her life story about love and loss, parents, daughters, aunts, fathers, pets, and life from the mundane to the ridiculous to the quietly heartbreaking. Or, sometimes loudly heartbreaking, with great big honking sobs. Amy doesn't have all the answers, but she suggests a good place to find them: at home, with the people who love you."—Peter Sagal, host of NPR's "Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!" and author of The Book of Vice: Naughty Things (and How to Do Them)

"Common sense, a practical nature, and a searing sense of social justice are the hallmarks of Amy Dickinson's advice column. Now, in a delicious and hilarious memoir, Amy gives us her worldview via Main Street with wit and originality, through her own bejeweled binoculars. The view is never, for a moment, self-indulgent. She's a wise and fair queen for sure. Long Live Amy!"—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of the Big Stone Gap series, Lucia, Lucia, and Very Valentine

The Barnes & Noble Review
Out of all the reasons to recommend a book to a friend, my motivation is rarely "This might help." But twice now, since reading Amy Dickinson's memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville, I've passed it on in precisely that spirit. In one case, I thought a city-dwelling friend of mine, who's lately missed the small midwestern town she grew up in, might find comfort in Dickinson's loving description of her own rural hometown in upstate New York. In the other, a mother of three very young children revealed that her husband (the rat) had recently left her for another woman; I hoped she might find some salve in Dickinson's survival under similar circumstances.

Dickinson, who writes the syndicated advice column "Ask Amy," dispenses no advice in this book. Yet her experiences -- which she relays with disarming charm, humor, and intelligence -- and her resilience may prove instructive, even restorative, for many readers.

In a dozen chapters that could work as stand-alone essays -- yet which loosely weave together to form a story -- Dickinson, who was tapped by the Chicago Tribune to succeed Ann Landers in 2003 and who contributes regularly to NPR, warmly welcomes us into her life. It's an informal, kick-off-your-shoes-and-sit-down kind of story, and Dickinson makes the most out of its lively cast of characters. There's her father, who left his family and their farm to run off with a truck stop waitress; the college sweetheart husband Dickinson followed to London, only to be abandoned by him shortly after the birth of their daughter; the daughter she's raised on her own; the string of unsuitable men she's dated; and the close extended family that's gotten her through.

More than anything else, there's Freeville (pop. 458), the small Upstate New York town she's always considered home -- even while she's lived in London, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. "My family has called Freeville home for over two hundred years," she writes. "We've tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, built houses and barns and backyard sheds. Most significantly, my family has made more family, and that's the main reason I continue to call this little place home."

As her story unfolds, Dickinson emerges as a mix of big-city smarts and small-town wisdom, self-deprecating wit and steady self-assurance. Also in evidence is the steadfast pragmatism that distinguishes her daily advice column. "When people ask me how I know what I know or how I get to do what I do, I have the answer," she writes. "I got here the hard way, by living a life and making my share of mistakes." Vitally, Dickinson sees that path as one she couldn't have walked alone. "I got here with my family watching my back, with my hometown community influencing me and accepting my choices and enfolding me in their prickly embrace."

Dickinson's close circle of relatives -- mostly women because, she notes, divorce runs in her family "like an aggressive chromosome" -- pick her up and dust her off after her broadcast journalist husband ditches her for a younger woman. "He told me that he was tired of disappointing me," she writes, "and I understood perfectly because I hated the feeling of being disappointed by him." And while, for years thereafter, the men she dates continue to disappoint, the women in her life never do. As Dickinson puts it, "They abide," dropping by to sit on porches, gathering to watch movies, sharing pews at church, and meeting weekly at the local diner to discuss family news. (Conversational topics include "Ancestor Trivia," "Politics and You," "Jellies and Preserves," "Humidity," and "Pets: Dead or Alive," she wryly observes.)

The values these women impart propel Dickinson forward as she struggles to raise her daughter, Emily, and to build a career as a journalist. Putting family first, she turns down a prestigious job at Time magazine -- a really big break -- because it involves the sort of travel and 60-hour workweeks that would keep her away from Emily for long chunks of time. "I have another job," she tells the startled bureau chief. "I'm trying to raise a person." Impressed, the bureau chief calls back days later to offer her an even more prestigious job -- her own column about families and parenting -- this one with a more mom-friendly schedule. "You know that you skipped over the part where you work here for years and then get your own column?" he says. (That's the sort of career kismet Dickinson seems to have; she snagged her plum advice column gig without even breaking a sweat.)

Following her heart, Dickinson meanders through life along circuitous routes, which might be maddeningly indirect if they weren't so scenic. Dickinson's knack for zeroing in on telling details and her sly humor make the journey worthwhile, wholly enjoyable, and -- for all its undeniable sweetness -- surprisingly untreacly. She conjures the contours of her life by highlighting its contrasts: the difference between the church she attends in D.C., with its swanky locale, soaring Gothic details, and politically connected congregants, and the one she frequents in Freeville, with its rusted aluminum siding, fragrant Saturday barbecues, and lively airing of community news ("Joys and Concerns," they call it). And she has a few laugh-out-loud slapsticky passages I won't ruin for you here.

I also won't ruin the end, with its lovely emotional payoff. Suffice it to say that Dickinson's unconventional choices always seem to carry her in the right direction. Her career success is ultimately matched by luck in her personal life. And by the time she sees Emily off to college, well, we couldn't be happier for them if we were members of their own family.

Such is the charm of The Mighty Queens of Freeville. As big as Dickinson's family may be, there always seems to be room for one more at the table. Reading this book, you get the lovely feeling that, for a time, that person is you. --Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter, a former editor and senior writer for Salon, has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Glamour, Marie Claire, Wine Spectator, and American Journalism Review, among other publications.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401322854
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson is a syndicated advice columnist. She replaced Ann Landers in 2003 and now pens the "Ask Amy" column, which appears in more than 100 newspapers nationwide, including the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday, The Boston Herald, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Washington Post. She currently lives in Chicago.

Biography

Amy Dickinson is a syndicated advice columnist, penning the "Ask Amy" column, which appears in over 200 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and The Washington Post.

She grew up on a small dairy farm in the Finger Lakes district of New York state. Her father wanted his three daughters to be farmers but gave up on them when they refused to compete in the local Diary Princess pageant. Her large family has lived in and around her hometown (pop. 450) continuously since the Revolutionary War. She has described them as "hilarious, short-waisted Methodists."

"My extended family is a collection of married and divorced parents, single mothers, step-relatives, adoptees -- and devoted siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents. I grew up hearing stories about my ancestors' exploits: My great-grandfather was warden of Sing Sing Prison and my great-uncle ran off to Europe and joined the circus when he was 40. Life in my hometown was like growing up in Lake Wobegon, only with worse weather and high unemployment," she says.

Amy attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a receptionist for The New Yorker magazine, as a producer for NBC News in Washington and New York, as a lounge singer, and as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Allure, O magazine, and other publications. From 1999-2002, she wrote a column for TIME magazine focusing on family life and parenting.

Dickinson's commentaries and radio stories have been featured on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered." In the early days of the Internet, she wrote a weekly column, carried on America Online's News Channel, which often drew on her experiences as a single parent and member of a large, extended family. She has also been a Sunday school teacher and a substitute teacher at a local nursery school.

Of her role as an advice columnist, Dickinson has this to say: "Because I so often write about personal issues and points of family conflict, readers have been reaching out to me, asking for advice about everything from their children's appalling table manners to their sticky relationships with the in-laws. I realized that people really want to have a conversation, and I'm honored that they want to have it with me."

In addition to her advice column, Amy is a regular panelist on NPR's comedy quiz show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." She also can be heard regularly on NPR's national talk show, "Talk of the Nation." Amy appears frequently on CNN, Fox News, and the "Today Show."
--Biography from author website

Good To Know

Here are some outtakes from our interview with Amy Dickinson:
  • "I was once a lounge singer."

  • "I love to tramp around in the country."

  • "I have an affinity for animals and livestock of all kinds, but they don't necessary take to me."

  • "The saddest and most beautiful sight I know is that of a flock of geese, honking and flying overhead."

  • "I have always put my relationships before my work, because I figure if my relationships are good, I'm happier and have more freedom to write what I want to write. I try to celebrate other peoples' creative endeavors and am easily inspired."

  • Read More Show Less

    Table of Contents

    Acknowledgments 9

    Introduction 13

    1 Don't Throw Your Ring in the Creek: Surviving the Breakup 25

    2 Tea Alone: On Mothering without a Net 46

    3 Ex Marks the Spot: Separating in a Time of Togetherness 68

    4 Nothing's Too Much Trouble 92

    5 Making Peanut Jesus: Finding God in the Community of Faith and Casseroles 112

    6 Livestock in the Kitchen: The Many Uses of Cats 132

    7 Failing Up 160

    8 Playing Hearts: Dating in the Age of Dread 181

    9 The Apex of Dorkitude: Dork, Like Me 202

    10 The Marrying Man 217

    11 This Too Shall Pass 247

    12 I'll Fly Away 266

    Read More Show Less

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4
    ( 43 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (12)

    4 Star

    (16)

    3 Star

    (10)

    2 Star

    (3)

    1 Star

    (2)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
    • Posted October 22, 2008

      Being a Strong Woman

      About half-way through this book, I thought, "how does the title fit into this memoir? and, why is this memoir particularly interesting?" I never did really get the title - it sort of fits, but not really. However, I have a couple of answers to the second question. One, for anyone who is interested in getting to know "Ask Amy" this is the book for you. Told in a positive and yet realistic voice, her story is interesting to anyone who has had to make something different of their life than they planned. The second reason is summed up in the last chapter. "Here I am in advanced middle age and I finally realize what it means to be an adult. To give, with no possibility that I'll be rewarded." When the subtitle talks about "raising" here is the end of that process. And I like the ending - it's a nice wrap up to a life that I have come to admire.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted August 28, 2011

      Made me smile.

      Just an enjoyable book. Am's wit, lessons and style of writing made the whole book a plesure to read.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted May 22, 2010

      Coffee with Amy

      I loved this book, which I read rather quickly during my coffee breaks. Although it is a quick-read, I savored the story even as I devowered it. Amy gives a witty glimpse into her life which pays homage to the women who raised her, supported her during every turn, and to whom she repaid with the same loyal treatment. The story is a memoir that makes the reader feel hopeful, inspired and good about future possibilities while facing the realities of divorce, single-mothering and career changes. Well done!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted February 14, 2010

      You'll LOVE this engaging, witty memoir!!

      Syndicated columnist /radio host Amy Dickinson has beautifully written a loving tribute to the special women in her family who taught her what "family" is all about, and also to the small New York town her family has called home for over 200 years. With endearing honesty, humor, and warmth, she shares her poignant story of raising her daughter as a single mother with the unconditional love and support of her extended family of strong, independent women in Freeville, N.Y. With divorce and single motherhood a common state in her family, she had many inspiring examples to learn from.on how to survive and build a new life for herself and her daughter.

      Ms. Dickinson is a magnificently talented writer who truly has a gift for drawing us in. The sense of community and small town life she eloquently describes is very heartwarming. Many of the anecdotes of her close-knit family were very touching. She reminds us all of the importance of family as a source of strength and inspiration. I absolutely loved this engaging, enjoyable memoir and I highly recommend it!

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    • Anonymous

      Posted November 30, 2009

      This is a "Sad Sam" tale that spends more time on the author's divorce then on her positive life and triumphs in Freeville.

      So many tears. Tears everywhere. She seems to be crying throughout the entire book. This narcisistic little book spends more time on the author's past woes and not enough on her triumphs in Freeville. Men are partially demonized and are dismissed as failures-- totally overlooking the important roles men play in healthy family life across America. The entire Freeville experience must be insular, stultifying and rooted in insecurity. Who would want to live there? Dickenson is not the first women to suffer the pain of a divorce and seems to care more about her own ego and career needs than the risk inherent in hurting her daughter who is the product of that divorce. Dickenson has simply reiterated the contents of her therapy sessions. Skip the book, save your money and if in a personal crisis--move on.

      0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted June 20, 2009

      The Mighty Queens of Freeville

      This was an enjoyable, light hearted book that has left me with a "warm, fuzzy, feeling". It's interesting how this book made me realize how important our "beginnings" are to our individual lives; and how hardships can humble us, make us stronger, and less judgmental of others. Having colorful characters woven into our lives helps one become comfortable in almost any situation. It's a good thing.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 25, 2009

      Herein lies the story of many women and daughters...

      Having been in similar circumstances some years ago, I expected a book that chronicled something that approximated my own experience, especially that of the support given by family and friends in ones' small home town. Ms Dickinson delivered the essence of that experience but without the writing skill I expected, especially given her line of work. Amy describes the many disappointments, eye opening incidents, paradigm shifts, uplifting moments and personal growth that she and her daughter experience. Those truths could have been told without excessive and minutely described details, and with more skill in sentence/paragraph structure, making this for me a book I could easily put down.

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    • Posted May 18, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      A pleasant experience.

      I very much enjoyed reading Amy Dickinson's book; it was relaxing and delightful. She was honest and real in her descriptions and details about life, and I appreciated the candor with which she wrote. It is a book about a regular life.

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    • Posted April 30, 2009

      Funny, touching, Loved this book!

      I gentle memoir of lifes' ups and downs from a woman who left a rural community, in Freeville, and it became her anchor no matter where she lived. It is both touching, funny, and accurate.

      0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted April 6, 2009

      Awesome book!

      I couldn't put the book down. It reminded me a lot of the Gilmore Girls.

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    • Posted March 30, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      What a fun memoir

      Amy Dickinson comes from a long line of strong women. They had to be. The men in the family seldom stayed around. When Dickinson's husband left her, she and her daughter moved back to Freeville and let the women there help heal the hurts.

      Dickinson (who became the "replacement" for Ann Landers) tells a wonderful story. I found her tales of life in Freeville entertaining and really wish I could meet all the women in her life. A very enjoyable memoir.

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    • Posted March 6, 2009

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      From My Weblog:

      The title of NPR commentator and syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson's memoir refers to the strong women residing in Freeville, NY where the author ran when she divorced, leaving her the single mother to a toddler. It was the natural place to run as Amy had been raised amongst the cows, the small town simplicity and close-knit bonds of her family there. In times of desperation, isn't Freeville the sort of place we yearn for?

      In The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them, Dickinson writes openly and humorously about her life in Freeville, NY. Her humor is somewhat laconic and guarded. This can be good and bad. It makes for an easy and fast paced read, but also leaves one feeling a bit cheated. The story of Amy's life follows from her return to Freeville, with toddler daughter in tow, until her daughter leaves for college. During those years, we meet a lot of interesting characters, yet we never really get to know any of them. Just as I started to form a picture, the story would shift and I'd be left with a series of story buds instead of a fully blossomed picture.

      In the end, The Mighty Queens of Freeville is about the merits of small town life, the safety one only, really ever, feels when they're in the arms of friends and family. In advancing this theme, Ms. Dickinson succeeds.

      Personal Thoughts: I really had a difficult time getting into this memoir. It reminded me of my efforts with A Girl Named Zippy and I couldn't help but wonder if I had something against stories set in Smalltown, USA. After all, my story began there and I understand its nuanced environment. Is it jealousy? Could I have written a better version? My family stories are just as interesting, my characters filled with even more spunk. Perhaps I should swear-off all small town memoirs, start typing or shut up.

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    • Posted February 23, 2009

      Very easy, interesting read

      I read this on a flight from FL to Chicago. She writes easily and well, and I loved the story. Her daughter seems like a nice girl, accomplished, and fun. I think the story could have ended much differently if their small family unit didn't have the larger family unit to keep them sane and grounded.

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    • Posted February 20, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      "Well, that happened"- Best Book I've Read in a While

      Amy's writing style is cozy- I felt more like I was sitting down to chat with her than I was sitting reading a book. She doesn't waste time with bitter rants or empty fluff- she's got a fresh, no nonsense style that I can only imagine she gets from her family. At no point do you feel like you're reading the bitter rant of some scorned woman, in fact quite the opposite. There is an unwavering positive undertone to the narrative, and a relaxed perspective that makes her easier to relate to. I think the best summary of the book as a whole, is her daughter, Emily's, response to an event that most teenagers would define as mortifying- fatally embarrassing, even (falling through the stage in a high school theater production) "Well, that happened." The entire book is a, "Well, that happened," from divorce, to family, to the eccentricities of raising a child- Amy takes it all in stride, and even does the rest of us a service by turning it into an entertaining, and delightfully quick, read that you might just take something away from.

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    • Posted February 15, 2009

      She makes me laugh!

      When Ann Landers, the famous advice columnist passed away a hole was left in the Chicago Tribune. Seeking someone to fill it, they happened upon Amy Dickinson, a single mother with few credentials who answered all the questions just right. In explaining her success Amy says ¿I make the mistakes so you don¿t have to.¿ Mighty Queens of Freeville is the story of the mistakes Amy made that finally ended in her ¿falling up¿ into the dream job she didn¿t even know she wanted. <BR/><BR/>There isn¿t anything very remarkable or unusual in Amy¿s story of a failed marriage, single parenthood, an absentee father, her struggle to come to terms with all this and the unconditional love, support, and sage advice she receives from her mother, aunts, and sisters along the way. But she tells the story with such humbleness, wit, and humor that it is entertaining anyway. To me this is the best kind of memoir. I can easily relate to Amy and her circumstances, she makes me laugh, and there are a few gentle reminders that I can do a little better in life.

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    • Posted December 17, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      A Warm and Cozy Memoir

      This was a warm and cozy little memoir by syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson (¿Ask Amy¿). The story of a divorced, single mom raising her daughter with lots of help from her female realtives. When I received this book as an ARC, I honestly wasn¿t sure what to make of it at first - the subject matter didn¿t seem particularly interesting to me.<BR/><BR/>But I decided to give it a chance, and I¿m glad I did. It¿s a very quick read, and interesting - it makes you want to keep reading. It¿s almost like a series of essays with small threads connecting each one. Ms. Dickinson¿s life isn¿t all wine and roses, but there is never a sense of ¿poor me¿, and I think that is what makes this book what it is. It¿s not cynical, it¿s not negative - it¿s funny, refreshing, hopeful, and friendly. The perfect book to curl up with next to a warm fire. Recommended!

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    • Posted November 29, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      The Mighty Queens of Freeville

      This book is a series of anecdotes from the life of advice columnist, Amy Dickinson. The story centers less around the "Queens" of the title and more around the men in Amy's life that have left, her father and her (ex)husband. The whole tale is told in an endearing fashion without a trace of bitterness and leaves you rooting for both Amy and her daughter at the end.

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    • Posted November 28, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      Long live the Mighty Queens

      Advice columnist Amy Dickinson invites us to take a glimpse into her world. This book reminds us that it's never too late to go home and how important your extended family can be. I enjoyed this book very much and can't wait to share it with the Mighty Queens in my own life.

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    • Posted November 17, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      The Mighty Queens of Freeville

      This is a quick, easy read. It's enjoyable to read how someone can come out of the depths of trying times in life with positive lessons and a sense of humor. The way Amy Dickinson used her "Mighty Queens" as a compass to guide her through her journay through life.

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    • Posted November 16, 2008

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      Write what you know

      The "Mighty Queens of Freeville" is a story of love, loss and overcoming the obstacles that life presents. It tells about the importance of family, and the strength that can be drawn from them.<BR/>This book also gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of America's most well-known advice columnists and the experiences that helped to develop her current expertise.

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