Saturday, February 8, 2014
A Book Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan is warm, witty, sad, and funny. Evelyn Ryan was a woman with an alcoholic husband who drank most of the family's income. In order to survive, Evelyn used her gift of wit to write dozens and dozens of jingles and contest entries to win all kinds of prizes during the '50s and '60s. The author (one of the children) wrote how often her mother won just exactly the appliance or item that was needed at just the right time. God's provision for this family is an evident pattern throughout the story.
I especially appreciated another recurring theme in this account - that of a woman who deliberately and continuously chose joy over bitterness and faithfully taught her children to try to do the same. She viewed her abilities as a gift and an art form that she used to make the best of her situation. Evelyn Ryan's perseverance, optimism and creativeness are inspiring. She may not have handled every situation perfectly, but she lived well the words she taught her daughter: Even when you're losing, you can be a winner.