Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A review of Karen Jones Gowen's memoir, Farm Girl

I just finished reading Karen Jones Gowen's memoir, Farm Girl. I love history. I especially love getting a  glimpse of a specific time in history that makes me feel as if I'm right there. That is what I felt reading Karen's account of her mother's life on a 1920s Nebraska farm.

Karen's book is a slight departure from traditional memoir in that it is not a memoir of Karen's life, but that of her mother, Lucille Marker Jones. As Karen explains in her introduction, there were good reasons for this, as she wanted her mother's "voice" to come through, not her own. She succeeded brilliantly.

What struck me most was the authenticity which came through as a result of the family photos sprinkled liberally throughout the book, as well as in the exquisite, lyrical detail in the narrative.

Karen couldn't have bestowed a finer blessing on her mother than honoring her in this way by shining a light on this particular time and this particular place and on this particular young "farm girl." And for me, New York City born and bred, it was eye-opening and profound.

Please check out Karen's blog: http://karenjonesgowen.blogspot.com/, if you haven't already done so, where you can purchase Farm Girl, as well as Karen's other book, Uncut Diamonds.


Yvonne Lewis said...

Sounds interesting Karen. will take a look asap.

Yvonne.@www.welcometo my world of poetry.blogspot.com

Odie Langley said...

You've got my interest. Thanks

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed your review. Karen's book sounds interesting and a wonderful tribute to her mother.

Hope you're okay with all the wildfires out your way. We're hanging in and making a little progress each day.

Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Jules said...

Nice review Karen, I second the wildfire thing. And don't you forget my Little Richard impersonation :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I believe you've found a new niche in writing reviews! Another good one. Thank you, ma'am.

Joanne said...

I like this twist on memoir with the telling of it through her mother's voice. What a nice tribute :)

Julie said...

This book is on my to-read list, I enjoyed reading your review. I love history too. Really looking forward to reading this book.

Karen Walker said...

Yvonne, it's worth a look.
Mason, thoughts and prayers are with you. The wildfire has created smoke and haze and ash here in Albuquerque and the air quality is dangerous. We are being told to stay indoors unless we absolutely have to go out. It's bad.
Jules, thanks -
Susan, thank you.
Joanne, yes it was a novel approach.
Julie, that's wonderful.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good for Karen!

Hilary said...

Hi Karen .. I know Karen's Farm Girl Memoir is on my list when I put the order in very shortly .. so I'm looking forward to learning something closer to home about life in the 1920s ... Love the review .. and I'm sure I'll enjoy it .. thanks - Hilary

Anonymous said...

I bought Farm Girl over a year ago. Ditto to everything you say about it, Karen. It's a beautiful book, sleekly designed and written in that vivid Karen style. The photographs are stunning. I love ancestral photographs. And it's a wonderful tribute to her mother.

You are, as someone said above, a great reviewer!

I was late getting up and wasn't aware of the Arizona wildfire. But I flipped over to check it out and now I'm back. Every year, it seems, there's a vicious fire somewhere out West. I remember a bad one several years ago, before I moved to Virginia, that happened in Utah Valley. The desert does spawn wildfires that are sometimes ignited by the carelessness of humans. If only....!!!! I'm now heading back to read more of the story.

Do stay inside, safe from the smoke. Hope it doesn't get worse!

Liz Fichera said...

The Arizona fire is north of where we live and it's scary how fast it's spread. At this point, zero containment too. Many small communities have had to be evacuated. Very tragic. Such beautiful land, destroyed because someone forgot to fully extinguish a campfire.

I have Ann's book on my TBR. Will definitely need to add Karen's too. Such interesting memoirs reviewed this week. Thank you!

KarenG said...

Thank you for the review, Karen! I agree with other commenters who have said you have a knack as a reviewer. I love this, what a treat to read a new review of Farm Girl after it's been out so long! You have made my day.

Helen Ginger said...

This sounds quite interesting. I don't know if I could write in my mother's voice. I'm glad to see that Karen was able to do that.

Karen Walker said...

Can you make a career out of reviewing books, LOL?

GigglesandGuns said...

Sounds fascinating and I'll check it out.
Thanks for the review.

Suze said...

Good afternoon, my dear Karen! (Just popping by to say hello.) :)

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I can't wait to read this book and also Following the Whispers. I better start a list....:-)

Jemi Fraser said...

Karen's book is in the huge pile of books on my nightstand. I really have to get to it!!!