Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review of Papa's Pearls

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Just about every homeschooler has heard of Diane Flynn Keith of ClickSchooling, but when you read her new book, Papa's Pearls, you will get to know a whole new side of Diane.  You will especially begin to wish that you had known her father, Papa.

Papa's name was Carol Joseph Flynn (named for the King of Romania) and, fortunately, he had the scrappy personality necessary to carry off the name! While Papa's early life was certainly colorful, it was not easy.  Thanks to a series of fortuitous events, though, he was able to turn his life around and become a successful business and family man.  Along the way, he somehow perfected the amazingly difficult trait of combining Type-A overachievement with a laid back personality.  He was able to extract the best from his business and, even more importantly, his children while allowing them to be their own people (his children, that is).

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Papa's Pearls is a short book comprised of chapters that exemplify Papa's pearls of wisdom, some of which are "Tell yourself you like it," "You gotta roll with the punches," and "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Through the course of these chapters and maxims, Diane tells her father's life story.

I loved this book, primarily because it felt like my grandmother and my father were talking directly to me.  Papa's no-nonsense refusal to feel sorry for himself attitude is probably characteristic of many of his peers, which is why it is so reminiscent of my grandmother.  Nothing irritated her more than finding me wallowing in self-pity.  She just couldn't see wasting the time.  Life is too short.  If you have to do something unpleasant - fake it 'til you make it, or "tell yourself you like it." Best marriage advice I ever got? "Act like you're in love even if you don't feel like it." All of this advice is part and parcel of the same attitude which, I think, boils down to the following: life is more about action than about feeling.

I read this book to my children and was so happy to be able to do so.  My kids are 11, 9, 8, and 8. I didn't find anything remotely inappropriate about it; we read it in two days.  They didn't want me to stop.  If I had to compare it to other books I've read to my kids, I would say that it is something like Cheaper by the Dozen or The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio.

I don't typically like memoirs, but Papa's Pearls is very different.  Not only does it make me think of my grandmother, but it makes me long to be a better parent.  I am way too hot-headed to be like Papa, but his ideal gives me something to which to aspire.  I can only hope that my children will remember me with half the love that Diane remembers her father.  Her book is a amazing tribute to an entirely unique man.

You can purchase an autographed copy of Papa's Pearls from Diane's website for $21.97 (includes s/h). You can also get the book through Amazon.

Not all parents are as liberal with their children's reading as I, so be sure to read the Crew reviews to see what others thought of this wonderful book.


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  1. Thanks for reviewing "Papa's Pearls," Laura. I'm glad it triggered memories of your grandmother and her words of wisdom. (Love the marriage advice!) And I was happy to learn you read it aloud to your kids - and that they didn't want you to stop. That made my day. :)
    I thought you might like to know that I'm having a Papa's Pearls Father's Day Contest. Share a memory about your own father or grandfather on my blog and be entered to win a $50 Gift Card to Amazon. Get the details here: Thanks, again!

  2. You could be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.