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To Sing Frogs: A Memoir
     

To Sing Frogs: A Memoir

4.9 13
by John Simmons
 

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A frank account of the challenges faced by an American family seeking to adopt five children from Russia. John and Amy Simmons have four sons; one is an adopted special needs child. Yet without girls, their family seemed incomplete, and so they resolved to adopt their first daughters. In his memoir, John Simmons recounts an experience both trying and inspirational: The practically-minded author and his compassionate wife, frustrated by arbitrary rules of the American foster system, opted to travel to Russia to expand their family, only to find a whole new set of challenges and heartbreaking conditions in Russian orphanages. Complicating matters further, after adopting two sisters, Katya and Luba, along with a sickly boy named Kirrill (to become Sarah, Celeste, and Denney, respectively), the Simmonses discovered that the girls' abusive mother had other children, and they were resolute in saving as many of their siblings as possible. Simmons' (Marvelous Journey Home, 2007) memoir straightforwardly depicts his family's expansion and its concomitant struggles, as well as his inner misgivings. Told in a colloquial style, the author assumes a bluntness that's strangely refreshing, even when bordering on the judgmental; it offers balance to what could have been a saccharine tale. Repetition, which would become tiresome under other circumstances, captures the tedium John and Amy faced and offers an approximation of their endless waiting. Yet the book truly excels in its depictions of other people, including young Celeste, who's coddled and assertive; Celeste's older sister, Sarah, who suffers from behavioral problems and survivor's guilt; and a Boy Scout-esque consular official at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Despite the narrative's intimacy, there are moments when the author abruptly, even admittedly, closes himself off from the reader--the difficulties of the older siblings joining the family is glossed over, while Simmons himself seems uncomfortable dissecting his own feelings as it concerns his oft-mentioned struggle with his own pragmatism and his wife's religious leanings. An odd yet effective mix of cynicism and sentimentality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780972591669
Publisher:
White Knight Printing and Publishing
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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To Sing Frogs 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly 'must read'. I laughed, I cried and went through a hundred emotions, I could not put the book down. I found it heart wrenching but honest and so well told. This is one book i wouold recommend to anyone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thought pervoking, heart felt and enjoyable read. so glad I did.  I give it 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A SAD BUT TRUE STORY OF A MAN AND HIS WIFE WHO DO EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO ADOPT  RUSSIAN SISTER'S FROM AN ORPHANAGE EVEN WHEN THE ODDS ARE STACKED AGAINST THEM THEY NEVER GIVE UP the book truly excels in its depictions of other people, including young Celeste, who's coddled and assertive; Celeste's older sister, Sarah, who suffers from behavioral problems and survivor's guilt; and a Boy Scout-esque consular official at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE TO SEE JUST HOW STRONG MINDED A FAMILY IS TO ADOPT GIRLS INTO THEIR FAMILY OF ALL BOYS.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read book. Refreshingly honest and heartfelt!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I edited this book for John, and found it a wonderful read. It is a great story of adoption, but also is a story of growth for a dad who truly loves all his children. Buy it and read it. It will be a treat. As the parent of an international adoption, I appreciated the detail of that process, but especially loved the growth in a dad who discovered the some "miracles" can't be explained but only loved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I read To Sing Frogs it took me back to the struggles, the up and the downs, but most of all it took me back to the orphanages where all those beautiful children lived. A person can never come away from seeing those children all wanting parents and families without being forever changed. John has such a way of writing that brought more vividly to my memory each detail, longing, joy and heartbreak of that incredible ongoing experience. I too have been to those orphanages and come away loving each individual child and wishing I could give each a home. This book helps us see the changes which came into John’s heart and the understanding that no one is ever forgotten by someone much greater than ourselves, that we are just the instruments to make it happen and fortunate enough to be used in such a sweet way. In the end we come away having received the most. I love reading and rereading the book not just because of John’s experiences, but because I like the candor, humor and honesty with which it is written. In the end I love how I feel when I read To Sing Frogs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Simmons has perfectly captured this wonderful adventure. I was forturnate to be able to share this adventure with John and Amy. John told the strory as it really happened. Reading "To Sing Frogs" was like living this story over again and loving every minute of it. I hope everyone that reads "To Sing Frogs" loves reading it as much as I loved living it with John and Amy. I feel very honored to have my picture along with Katya on the cover of this book. Bill Jenson
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John's storytelling is frank, funny and fast-paced. Yes, he tells a long and sometimes gut-wrenching story but that story is also uplifting and highly entertaining. John's tale of a twisted world of foster care, adoption and Soviet-style bureaucracy will keep you reading late into the night. You may go through the wringer while reading, but you won't be disappointed with the outcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't stop reading this book.  The author does a great job of telling the story of how his family adopted Russian orphans. Highly recommended.
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
John and his wife Amy decided to adopt two girls from Russia to add to their family of boys. Their journey before, during, and after the adoption is told in this realistic look at foreign adoption. The author doesn't sugar coat anything. He deals with emotions, hardships, blessings, and miracles. The two little girls that they initially decided to add to their home soon grew to more as they witnessed first hand the need in the orphanages. It's a true look at the reality of adopting outside your comfort zone. But I felt the author did a great job of showcasing the blessings as well as the difficulties. The style of writing is very clear and concise, but still has an infusion of heart and soul. While the book was probably written primarily to encourage adoption, it can definitely be read by the causal reader. I enjoyed reading this book and feel the author will be very successful in promoting adoption using this method. I received this book free of charge from SS/PR in exchange for my honest review.