Thursday, October 4, 2007


My most recent and most enjoyed read in the past two months was THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO: HOW MY MOTHER RAISED 10 KIDS ON 25 WORDS OR LESS by Terry Ryan (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, c2001, ISBN 0-7432-1123-5). Set in Defiance, Ohio, this book is the story of Evelyn Ryan who wrote jingles and entered contests for more than 20 years to keep her family of twelve afloat. While her husband, Kelly, an alcoholic drank most of his paycheck away, Evelyn would write poems and entries to numerous contests to win small amounts of cash to pay the bills, grocery runs to put food on the table, and numerous other prizes she'd sell for cash or give away as gifts. The book, written by Terry "Tuff" Ryan, 6th of the 10 children is a brutal yet honest depiction of life during the 40's, 50's and 60's illustrating hard times and happy times alike.

It starts:

The ordinarily sleepy town of Defiance, Ohio, emitted an industrious hum on hot days, a subtle pulse of activity - like the buzz of distance bees.

It is unfair to not mention some of the other characters in the book -- Mammy the cat who could open up doors -- Charley the chicken -- Dortha, her first friend from the Affadaisies.

This is a wonderful, feel-good book that I hope everyone reads, but if you're not a reader, check out the movie. It's almost as good.

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