Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Book Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

. . . here was a woman who never showed the slightest bit of resentment or bitterness.  In fact, the reverse was true.  Mom delighted in life's innate hilarity, and her joy in living found its best statement through her gloriously understated "knack for words."

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.


Lori in Missouri said...

Loved this book! Julie, it was also made into a movie with Julianne Moore as actress. It was really good.
We are at our land in Missouri this week and enjoying beautiful snowy weather and temps in 20s. I know you all are getting really "fed up" with snow -- hope you haven't had too long without power! Daughter near Doylestown had children home from school the whole week!
But as for me and Hubbins -- we are loving the Midwest winter experience for a nice seasonal break.
Are you watching Downton Abbey on television? Need to get off computer and get ready to relish the story...
Have a good week dreaming of your spring gardens <>

Julie said...


It looks funny to see "Lori in Missouri" instead of "Lori in Texas"! I'm glad you're getting to enjoy some wintry weather. Actually, I'm not tired of the snow yet. It's been so nice hibernating inside with my books and games and tea! Thanks for letting me know about the movie based on the book. I'll have to look into that. As for Downton Abbey, we're not hooked up for television but one of these days I want to borrow of the DVD copies of the series to see what all the hubbub is about! Good to hear from you -