Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime

Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime

by Sarah Smiley
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Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime by Sarah Smiley

Fifty-two guests take turns filling a military father's chair at his family's dinner table while he serves his yearlong deployment.

The week before Thanksgiving 2011, Dustin Smiley left for a yearlong military deployment. Soon after, his son Ford, eleven, invited Senator Susan Collins to fill his dad's chair at dinner. On January 3, 2012, Senator Collins came to dinner ... and brought brownies.

So began Dinner with the Smileys, nationally syndicated columnist Sarah Smiley's fifty-two-week commitment to fill her husband's place at the family dinner table with interesting people—from schoolteachers to Olympians, professional athletes to famous authors, comedians to politicians—and unique role models for her three sons, even as she knows Dustin's seat cannot truly be "filled" until he is home again for the fifty-third dinner.

Why dinner? Because dinnertime is often the loneliest time for people living alone. If houses and apartments were like dollhouses with one side totally exposed, Sarah says, we'd see plenty of people eating alone to the glow of a television.

That was the fate Sarah feared for herself and her children during Dustin's absence. So she opened her home, and she and the kids sent invitations. And they found that a surprising number of people really are available for dinner. You just have to ask.

In a time when popular culture leads us to believe that the family dinner table is dead, Dinner with the Smileys shows people that time spent with family, friends, and neighbors is still very much part of the American lifestyle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401324872
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.96(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.07(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Navy wife and columnist Sarah Smiley is the author of a syndicated newspaper column that is published in cities across the country, the memoir Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife (Penguin/New American Library, 2005) and a collection of essays titled I'm Just Saying... (Ballinger, 2008). Described as an "Erma Bombeck for the military-wife set" by Publishers Weekly, Sarah is known as a trailblazer for military-spouse books, columns and other publications. Sarah has been a Navy dependent for more than 36 years, first as the daughter of Rear Admiral Lindell Rutherford (USN, Ret.), and now as the wife of Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, a Navy pilot. She has a B.S. in Education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Maine.

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Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great idea! Great book! A nice look at how a community can help a military family get through a deployment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SusanMDM More than 1 year ago
Dinner with the Smileys was a truthful version of military life without dad. Sarah Smiley didn't gloss over the problems and behavior issues that can happen when dad is gone, but they took control as a family and filled the deployment in a positive manner. It was enjoyable reading about all the different people who came to dinner over the year and the lessons learned from each visitor. I enjoyed this book so much, I read it straight through from beginning to end and then was a little sad it was finished. I highly recommend it to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading, I could hardly put it down. I was once that military spouse with the husband gone. I thought Sarah did an excellent job of telling the reality of deployments. She made me laugh and cry with her on her year long adventure! Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books where I felt a little sad when I finished it.  Sarah's descriptive writing style gave me a mental picure of every character and dinner she wrote about.  I feel like I know all of them.  I am a military spouse with two young children who is not a stranger to deployments.  (That being said, you do not have to be associated with the military to relate to this book!)   I can't imagine doing even a few of the things Sarah accomplished while Dustin was away. This book is an inspiration and makes me think I am capable of way more than I give myself credit for.  I plan to choose this as my book club pick the next time it's my turn.  Read it.  You'll be glad you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. It is s a wonderful story about family and community. It speaks to a Mother's relationship with ther sons and a family's growth over the year that their dad/husband deployed. I would highly recommend this book. It is heartfelt and will have you laughing and crying within the turn of a page. You will not be disappoined. This is a must read for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read, I think everyone should read this to get insight on how a military family has to deal with the deployment of a mom or day. I always thought hard it would be for the wife/husband but never really thought of how it effect the kids as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago