The Mighty Queens of Freeville
A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them
By Amy Dickinson
(Hyperion, Hardcover, 9781401322854, 240pp.)
Publication Date: February 2009
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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 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.
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.
"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 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
"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
"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