The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio : How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less
The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less Author:Terry Ryan The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. Standing up to the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated ideas about women, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for in... more »novation, all the while raising her six sons and four daughters with the belief that miracles are an everyday occurrence. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Evelyn Ryan's story is told by her daughter Terry with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit and sense of humor can triumph over adversity every time.« less
While the blurb on the back of the book describes the book perfectly, I was most impressed by this woman, who after raising 10 kids and sending them all off to college on full scholarships, continued to support her husband while he eventually became a better man. He banked every penny of his pension as she supported him in retirement, and surprised her with a gift of it all, upon his death. It was so much money that she was able to live and travel off the interest and her own pension, and leave the total amount to her kids!
Blurb on the back of the book: "This plucky middle American chronicle, starring an unsinkable, relentlessly resourceful mother and her Madison Avenue-style magic, succeeds on many leels -- as a tale of family spirit triumphing over penury, as a history of mid-century American consumerism, and as a memoir about a woman who was both ahead of her time and unable to escape it." --- The New Yorker
CA R. reviewed The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio : How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less on
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book straight through. Besides being an good story, it is an interesting look at what a woman's life in the 1950's-60s was like if she lived with an alcoholic who was abusive at times. Furthermore, it is a wonderful book about a bright woman with a great deal of determination. The final chapters provide insight on how the children saw their mother differently (that is, better understood her) once they looked through her belongings after her death. It made me cry at the end because I think many of us know women like her...
hickgal - reviewed The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio : How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less on
Helpful Score: 2
Although a lot of this book was heartbreaking it was also funny and touching. The mother was a genius at writing jingles and ad lines. She did what what she did best to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
I found this book fascinating, mostly because of how much I admired the lead character -- a woman who had to deal with much adversity in her life, but did it with great humor and an incredible optimism.
Great story about how a mother in the 1950's kept her family from poverty by contentiously winning prizes for writing witty jingles or catchphrases for companies. It's a good movie and an even better book.