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.
When Ann Landers retired as the reigning doyenne of advice-column divas, the Chicago Tribune conducted a nationwide search for her successor, ultimately selecting a relatively unknown NPR contributor and Time magazine columnist. Young and savvy, Dickinson belied the image of a bespectacled matron dispensing timeworn homilies and adages. Offering pithy, no-nonsense counsel, Dickinson quickly charmed legions of fans with her unabashed candor, tension-diffusing wit, and astute reasoning. How this fortysomething single mother came by such wisdom and practicality is lovingly explored in Dickinson's joyous memoir, an unabashed homage to the notable women who raised her, unassuming small town that nurtured her, and soul-mate daughter who sustained her through the emotional minefields of divorce, single parenthood, and career uncertainty. Though the Dickinson women might have been unlucky in romantic love, their marital misfortune only served to strengthen their innate resolve and unwavering commitment to family. Buoyant and bright, Dickinson offers a refreshingly open and sincere tribute to life's most important relationships.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review
"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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Amy Dickinson grew up on a dairy farm in Freeville, New York. She graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She has had numerous jobs including a receptionist for The New Yorker magazine, a producer for NBC News in Washington and New York, a lounge singer, and a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Allure, and O magazine. She wrote a column for Time Magazine that focused on family life and parenting from 1999 to 2002. In 2003, The Tribune chose her to write the successor to the long-running Ann Landers column. Her syndicated advice column Ask Amy appears in more than 200 newspapers across the country. She is also the host of a biweekly feature on NPR's Talk of the Nation and her commentaries and radio stories have been featured on NPR's All Things Considered. (Bowker Author Biography)