This is going to be a challenging review for me to write. The author is my aunt and the book is a memoir. Many of the stories are about my family and I was there for some of the incidents so there is no way to read it the same way a typical reader will.
My late Mom Lois was the oldest of three sisters. The middle sister, Marilyn, shares in this book a lot of funny stories about pranks, silly and embarrassing personal foibles, humorous Catholic guilt, plus touching anecdotes and observations. My Mom was not serious all the time but she was far more serious than Marilyn – many people have wondered aloud how they could be related! We know they are though, because they were not totally different. Both enjoyed teaching. Both were hardworking. Both were sincere about their faith. Both were tolerant and compassionate. Both enjoyed self-expression in the forms of writing, singing, dancing and acting.
All our lives the whole family has acknowledged that Marilyn is “crazy” – in the wacky sense, not the mentally ill sense. Most of my favorite parts of the book are about pranks and silliness. Some of the stories made me laugh so hard I was choking on my own snot. (It’s ok to say “snot” now and then, right Marilyn?)
Marilyn is not afraid to poke fun at herself in this book. Some of her prank anecdotes show that she has historically not always been shy about poking fun at others either. I don’t get the impression it was done maliciously. She can forgive herself for occurences that were thoughtless, silly or outrageously obtuse. If you’ve ever had experiences like that, you can laugh along with Marilyn and at yourself as she acknowledges some of her weirdness. Hopefully you can also pick up some of her forgiving attitude. It’s ok to own up to what you did and then let yourself off the hook. She lets a lot of other people off the hook for stuff they did to her too. Opportunities to throw other people under the bus have been passed by. That’s a sign of maturity, perhaps – from someone who has worked hard all her life to teach us that being mature is not always required! For example a bodily function reference is not the end of the world, right?
Life is too short not to bring out your inner child out to play sometimes. I’m in no way as uninhibited in my behavior as my Aunt but I’m unconventional in different ways and I have a high tolerance for and appreciation of eccentricity! Some of the stories in the book are about Marilyn’s father (my Grandfather) and his two brothers. See this picture and explanatory caption below to get a glimpse of the family that produced such as we…
This book is a gift to my family because it preserves a lot of family history. I learned some things about my grandparents, my Mom and others that I did not know before. What is the average reader going to get out of it? Besides some encouragement to laugh at and forgive yourself, this book provides a glimpse of life, culture and history in the greater St. Louis area, especially South St. Louis. It may also inspire you to give a gift to your own family by preserving your favorite stories for future generations to enjoy!
Click here to buy “My Crazy Life Stories from A to Z”.