Recently, I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
The Mighty Queen of Freeville: a Mother, A Daughter, and the People Who Raised Them, a memoir by Amy Dickinson, author of the syndicated advice column "Ask Amy" (who replaced the coveted Ann Landers spot) and NPR contributor.Read an excerpt from Dating da Vinci, and learn more about the author and her work at Malena Lott's website and blog.
I haven't read many memoirs, because I'm usually so busy reading non-fiction books on psychology, business or sociology and, of course, tons of great fiction. But I was pleased to be sent Dickinson's book for review, and within the first chapter it's apparent why she was selected to be the "next Ann Landers." Her story isn't flashy - in fact, that's kind of the point. She grew up in a small town, yes, you guessed it, Freeville, by a bunch of women. Lots and lots of women. Her mother has a pack of sisters who had a bunch of daughters, and so on. Dickinson's father left when she was young, and she's very blunt about the shortcomings in her own failed marriage, and her contributions to its demise. Great memoirs require the author to "bleed on the page," and Dickinson gives us a steady dose of it. One might think that this could be a book about a small town girl who makes it big (in my world NPR and a nationally-syndicated columnist is very big), but she doesn't dole out advice in the book. It's not a how to, but a how the hell did I get here. It's refreshing and honest and makes you want to seek out her advice column and put her NPR contributions on download on iTunes.
The Page 69 Test: Dating da Vinci.
My Book, The Movie: Dating da Vinci.