Dropped Threads: What We Aren't Told

Paperback | January 23, 2001

EditorCarol Shields, Marjorie Anderson

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The idea came up over lunch between two old friends. There was a need for a book that, eschewing sensationalism and simplistic answers, would examine the holes in the fabric of women’s talk of the last thirty or forty years. The contributors, a cross-section of women, would be asked to explore defining moments in their lives rarely aired in common discourse: truths they had never shared, subjects they hadn’t written about before or otherwise found a place for. What Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson wanted to hear about were the experiences that had brought unexpected pleasure or disappointment, that somehow had caught each woman unawares. The pieces, woven together, would be a tapestry of stories about what women experience but don’t talk about. The resulting book became an instant #1 bestseller.

“Our feeling was that women are so busy protecting themselves and other people that they still feel they have to keep quiet about some subjects,” Carol Shields explained in an interview. Dropped Threads takes as its model the kind of informal discussions women have every day – over coffee, over lunch, over work, over the Internet – and pushes them further, sometimes even into painful territory. Subjects include work, menopause, childbirth, a husband’s terminal illness, the loss of a child, getting old, the substance of women’s friendships, the power of sexual feelings, the power of power, and that nagging question, “How do I look?” Some of the experiences are instantly recognizable; others are bound to provoke debate or inspire readers to examine their own lives more closely.

The book is a collection of short, engaging pieces by more than thirty women, from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. Many are mothers, some are grandmothers, and many are professionals, including journalists, professors, lawyers, musicians, a corporate events planner and a senator. Readers will find the personal revelations of some of their favourite authors here, such as Margaret Atwood, Bonnie Burnard, Sharon Butala, Joan Barfoot, Joan Clark and Katherine Govier. Other contributors include:

• Eleanor Wachtel, CBC radio host, talks about her early fears of speaking in public.
• June Callwood, journalist, social activist and a Companion of the Order of Canada, at the age of seventy-six is surprised at her failure to find answers to the imponderable dilemmas surrounding human life, and of her lack of connection to the “apparition” in the mirror.
• Isabel Huggan, short story writer, muses on what she considers the impossibility of mothers passing on knowledge to their daughters, and on her own feeling that “we are girls dressed up in ladies’ clothing, pretending.”

With writing that is reflective, often amusing, poignant, emotional and profound, Dropped Threads is the first book to tackle the lesser-discussed issues of middle age and is the first anthology the editors have compiled together.

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From Our Editors

This revealing collection of writings, edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson, examines eclectic and rarely discussed topics that pertain to women. In Dropped Threads various celebrities as well as unknown housewives and academics discuss the experiences that have amazed and disappointed them. Each piece contains a “shock o...

From the Publisher

The idea came up over lunch between two old friends. There was a need for a book that, eschewing sensationalism and simplistic answers, would examine the holes in the fabric of women’s talk of the last thirty or forty years. The contributors, a cross-section of women, would be asked to explore defining moments in their lives rarely air...

Marjorie Anderson is the seventh of eight children born to Ásdis and Thorsteinn Anderson, Icelandic-Canadian fishers, farmers and storytellers who farmed in the hamlet of Libau, on the edges of Lake Winnipeg. She has a Ph.D. in English literature and taught writing and literature at the English department of the University of Manitoba ...

interview with the author

Marjorie Anderson Q & A

1) Can you tell us how you came to collaborate with Carol Shields?

Carol and I have been friends for close to twenty years. We met while we were both teaching in the English Department of the University of Manitoba. I was teaching 20th century literature and Carol was teaching creative writing. Since then we have remained close and have had countless long, fascinating discussions, often over lunch, about writing, literature, and the emotional state of” the worlds”–ours and the larger one. The book grew out of a conversation we had at one of our lengthier lunches at the university.

2) What inspired you to begin this project?

At lunch one day in the spring of 1998, I told Carol I felt that “the woman’s network let me down.” I was experiencing a plummet in energy not uncommon in menopause--apparently. I declared that nothing I read and nothing I heard from other woman had prepared me for the dip I was experiencing. We mused on that topic for a while and then went on to lively speculations on what other experiences had caught us by surprise, where else there were gaps in women’s talk. I can’t remember exactly what other topics we came up with on that day, but I do remember being “caught” in the discussion for weeks after. Both Carol and I asked other women friends and family members about their observations on the topic and all of them had interesting views and comments. At our subsequent lunches that spring, Carol and I would muse on the responses from others. At some point in this swirl of fascinating speculations, we decided that the topic would make for a great anthology of writings by women.

3) Are there any tips you would give a book club to better navigate their discussion of Dropped Threads?

There are several entry points into the anthology that I can suggest:
q Discuss what pieces stood out for each reader and why: In my discussions with readers, so many report that certain stories stand out for them because of some resonance to their own lives.
• Consider why this book has been so popular with Canadian women. What chord has been struck? What need has been met? What does this collection indicate about the current state of the “women’s movement”?
• What are the effects of having a mixture of well-known writers and others who are being published for the first time? Talk also about the mixture of personal essays and fiction. (We gave all the contributors the choice of either form.) Why did only a few choose fiction and why the pseudonyms for two of the pieces?
• What topics weren’t covered in this anthology that would make for great pieces in a Volume II? Also, speculate on what each person would have written about if she had been asked to be a contributor for the anthology.

4) Do you have a favourite story to tell about being interviewed for your book? Have the interviews been very different from the media you receive for your fiction?

One humourous memory is of my staring intently at and talking to the microphone instead of to the interviewer at one early morning radio show. Generally, all the interviewers were enthusiastic about the book and easy to talk to. Most often the articles that resulted from the conversation I had with media people were accurate and kind and the TV “ spots” were well edited. One TV program with an especially fine job of editing and compiling was Imprint on TV Ontario. The crew from this program filmed the Toronto launch and interviewed me and the five contributors who were in attendance.

One of my favourite stories has to do with Carol being interviewed about the book. She and her daughter Anne were on a Vancouver CBC TV show that is shown nationally and Carol was asked–as we both have been so many times–what led to the topic of the anthology. She mentioned my dip in energy and, apparently, indicated that I reported that the biggest drop was in libido. Well, my cousin Kurt was sitting in his living room in rural Manitoba watching the show, and he nearly fell over with surprise and mirth to hear about his cousin’s sex drive on national TV. (I’ll have you all know that the “dip” was temporary!)

5) What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

No one has asked me if I wrote one of the pieces, and I did. Can you guess which one?

6) Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?

I consider all reviews–both the mixed ones and the glowing ones--as opinions of readers, valid opinions because all are based on individual experiences of the book. Sometimes a comment by a critic will provide us with much amusement; for example, one reviewer bemoaned the fact that a bevy of the contributors were “married women from Winnipeg.” We, who are married women in Winnipeg, weren’t sure how to interpret that comment. Should we be single or should we be from somewhere else?

The “reviews” that have given me new perspectives on the anthology have come in the form of comments from readers. At one event where I was talking about the book and reading from it, one woman said to me, “This is the kind of book that once you’ve read, you are changed forever.” I was amazed and asked her what the book had, specifically, provided for her. She replied, “Affirmation. I don’t feel so lonely–or crazy–now. Others feel and think as I do.” I had not anticipated that the book would have that profound an impact on women’s lives.

7) Which authors have been most influential to your own writing?

Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, Alice Munroe, Jack Hogins, and Carol Shields

8) What are some of your other passions in life?

My lake cottage, watching moonlight on water; my family; babies--mine and other people’s; dancing (I am a clogger); music; teaching; having elegant dinner parties; traveling; being alive!

9) If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?

Either Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant or Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.96 × 5.98 × 0.97 inPublished:January 23, 2001Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679310711

ISBN - 13:9780679310716

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Required Reading I picked up a copy of this book during a trip to British Columbia last winter and felt such a connection to the women contributors, that I ordered 10 more copies to give to my female friends.
Date published: 2001-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dropped Threads I found this book enlightening and beautifully written. Our bookclub read "Dropped Threads" and it hit chords in every woman there...it was obvious that the topics written about, in the short stories, had a profound effect on the readers, regardless of background. Most of the topics covered in the book had been a part of our lives, directly or indirectly, and affected us a great deal...we didn't know how dramatically until we openly discussed them (for the first time for some). A wonderful addition to any home library and "a must" for women!
Date published: 2001-04-03

Extra Content

Read from the Book

ForewordThe focus for this anthology floated out one day amid soup and salad at one of those gatherings where Carol and I take the emotional pulse of our worlds – or The World, it seems to us.“The woman’s network let me down. Nothing I’ve ever heard or read prepared me for this!” This particular yelp resulted from the plummet of energy and purpose I experienced with menopause and quickly led us to wider, more lively musings on what else had caught us unprepared, where else we had experienced gaps between female experience and expression. We were surprised by the number of topics and by the ease with which they came to mind. The image of dropped threads from the fabric of women’s talk occurred to us and the familiar, satisfying assumption that women could talk about anything unravelled as we spoke.We included other women in our speculations: friends, colleagues and family members took up the conversation with enthusiasm and immediate revelations as though, for some, the topic was one they had wanted to discuss for years. They identified gaps in their communal talk and named life-altering surprises in their individual lives. Most spoke of serious issues, of surprise bruisings or blessings, private moments of intense connection or bewilderment. Other women reported insights that bordered on the hilarious: one friend mentioned that her greatest surprise was “sagging earlobes” and another claimed it was “a husband who flosses his teeth in front of you and then expects passion in bed.”The idea for an anthology of writings on the topic blossomed naturally. We had obviously tapped into a rich vein of stories that touched on defining moments in women’s lives. We invited a number of acquaintances and friends to write these stories, the ones they wanted and needed to tell, recognizing, of course, there would be private spaces that everyone needs to keep beyond the claim of words. We thought women writers would have interesting observations: what subjects hadn’t they written about that needed communal airing? We also asked women of other backgrounds, academics, ranchers, politicians, homemakers, journalists, lawyers, to identify the areas of surprise and silence in their lives.The responses were immediate and the topics wide-ranging: everything from the joys of belly dancing to the shock of gender inequities in politics. There seemed to be a general embracing of the license implicit in our invitation, but also some reticence: more than one respondant commented on the courage it would take to write on personal issues that had long been beyond the limits of acceptable expression. A few women identified experiences which they could not write on because the pain was too new or the fear of judgment still too strong. What was particularly satisfying to us was that we were contacted by women who had heard of our venture and wanted their stories included. One of these surprise offerings is among the most powerful of the anthology.The collection of thirty-four reflective pieces is the end result of those conversations and connections started back in the spring of 1999. Many of the voices will be familiar to readers; others will be new. Some are forthright and take the reader to the heart of intense experience. Others approach distinctly personal moments with caution and then veer away, as though the walls around the silences they’ve been keeping are impenetrable. What unites all these writings is the uncommon honesty, courage and acuity of emotion these women bring to their topics – and to us.They tell us that once life slows down enough for reflection, women uncover truths several beats away from the expected and the promised: female friendships are often more central in our lives than those we have with men and children; what we are told can be as limiting as what is never spoken; and vanity, dominance and blasts of lust that break though marriage and age barriers can be good things. From those who document the private contours of grief and shame, we learn about survival instincts and minute-by-minute coping strategies that rise up and guide people to new spaces of accommodation. Other women point to the individual colourings of common human happenings: spiritual stirrings, aging and the discovery of fundamental gender inequities continue to catch women unprepared because these experiences can never be the same for any two people.What the stories and the essays indicate about the variety and uniqueness in women’s lives is visually reinforced by the Vinarterta Lady sketch on the cover. This stylized woman speaks to the rich rhythms and shadings of our moods and approaches to life. As well, there is a mystery about this sketch that reminds us of the impossibility of capturing in any medium of expression all of what we are and what we experience. There are still blank spaces before us, and women are still asking, as one of our young contributors does, “What shall I tell my daughter?” When we scan through the topics that even this collection has skipped over – mother-daughter relationships, lesbian experiences, life without partners or children, to mention some, we realize that women’s conversational weaving will forever be a work in progress.In the meantime we’re reminded not to forget the joys and potential growth from the uncharted. In the afterword Carol Shields writes a characteristically wise, gentle unfolding of the central theme as it relates to her personally. She tells of meeting the “surprises of self-discovery” with “gratitude” and then nudges the reader into embracing the unexpected: “Who isn’t renewed by startling scenery or refreshed by undreamed-of freedoms? Surprise keeps us alive, liberates our senses.”Our wish is that this anthology will be liberating for readers. It offers a community of voices that are relevant to everyone, not just women, because the experiences recounted are ultimately those that give us our jagged human dimensions of joy and sorrow. We hope readers of all ages and backgrounds will be inspired by how the contributors answered the initial question we posed and will be drawn to examine their own crevices of surprise and silence.Marjorie AndersonJuly 2000AfterwordI was twenty-one years old, and standing in line to receive my Bachelor of Arts diploma from Hanover College. Major in English, minor in history. It was June, and the temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Under our black academic gowns my girlfriends and I wore, by previous agreement, nothing. Nothing at all. This was considered high daring in those days, 1957. The night before, seven or eight of us had gathered in the woods above the campus and conducted a ritual burning of our saddle shoes. We were utterly ignorant of what lay ahead of us, but imbued, for some reason, with a nose-thumbing rejection of the suffocating shell of convention that enclosed us.And yet most of us were prepared to inhabit that safe place our parents had defined for us. We married the same summer we graduated, joined our lives with men no older than we were, and within a year we were buying houses, having babies and planting petunias. Hardly any of us thought of a career other than wife and mother. No one had suggested such a notion to us.The 1957 graduation address was given by a very popular math professor at the college. He began his talk by telling us that we would remember nothing of what he would say that hot June morning. This was true; I sat dreaming of my wedding, which was just six weeks away, and of the apartment where I would live with my new husband. The charm of domesticity, its sweetness and self-containment, pulled at all my passions. But suddenly he broke through my daydreams. "I ask you to remember only two things," he said. "Remember the date, 1957, and remember the words tempus fugit."I had studied Latin, but even if I hadn't I would have known what that phrase meant: time flies. Our convocation speaker was reminding us that our lives would speed by before we had grasped them. It was our responsibility to seize each moment and fill it with accomplishment. Otherwise our life would be wasted, worn away with the turning years, and we would grow old and disappointed in what we had made of it.The phrase haunted me in the ensuing years. I was occupied with babies and with the hard physical work that babies involve. We moved several times and so there were always new domestic arrangements to carve out. Cleaning, cooking, coping, running errands - my days were filled with such minutiae. It was in the calmer, cooler evenings that the phrase tempus fugit would return to me, beating at the back of my brain and reminding me that time was rushing by. I was spooked, frightened by what this meant.And then, quite suddenly, I realized it meant nothing. Tempus did not fugit. In a long and healthy life, which is what most of us have, there is plenty of time. There is time to sit on a houseboat for a month reading novels. There is time to learn another language. There is travel time and there is stay-at-home time. Shallow time and fallow time. There is time in which we are politically involved and other times when we are wilfully unengaged. We will have good years and bad years, and there will be time for both. Every moment will not be filled with accomplishment; we would explode if we tied ourselves to such a regimen. Time was not our enemy if we kept it on a loose string, allowing for rest, emptiness, reassessment, art and love. This was not a mountain we were climbing; it was closer to being a novel with a series of chapters.My mother-of-small-children chapter seemed to go on forever, but, in fact, it didn't. It was a mere twelve years, over in a flash. Suddenly I was at a place where I had a little more time to reflect. I could think, for instance, about writing a real novel, and I did. And then another novel, and then another. I had a desk in this new chapter of my life, a typewriter and a pile of paper that belonged just to me. For the first time I needed a file cabinet and a wrist watch, something I'd done without for a decade. I remember I spent the whole of an October afternoon working on a single sentence; I was not by nature a patient person, but for this kind of work and at this time in my life, I was able to be endlessly, foolishly, patient.In 1985 I looked up from my desk and realized that the children had gone, all five of them. The house was quieter now. The days were mine to arrange any way I wished. I wrote a novel in which, for the first time, there were no children. It was a different kind of novel than I'd written before, with a more inventive structure. The publisher was worried about this innovation, but I was insistent. The insistence was something new, and it coloured the chapter I was living in, my early-middle-age chapter. The woman I saw in the mirror looked like someone else, but I knew it was really me, relocated in time and breathing another grade of oxygen. I was given an office and a key to that office. I loaded it down with plants and pictures, a soft lamp, a carpet. It felt like a tiny apartment, offering solitude and giving a new permission, another space in which to live my ever-altering life.Friendship took time, but luckily I had time as I entered yet another phase. My women friends provided support, amusement, ideas, pleasure, wisdom. The two-hour lunch was a luxury I could afford during this period; moreover, it was a kind of necessary music. The more words we tossed into the air the closer we felt to the tune of our own lives. We talked about what we knew and what we didn't know. Our conversations were punctuated with the joyous discovery of commonalities, the recognition that the narratives of our lives bumped along differently, but with the same change rhythms.But one day, over a long lunch with my friend Marjorie Anderson, we spoke for the first time of all that went unspoken, even in an age of intense and open communication. There were the things our mothers hadn't voiced, the subjects our teachers had neglected, the false prophetic warnings (tempus fugit, for example) we had been given and the fatal silence surrounding particular areas of anxiety or happiness. Why weren't we told? Why weren't we warned? What contributed to the reticence between generations, between one woman and another?We decided to ask some of our women friends to talk about the skipped discourses in their lives and how they had managed, at last, to cope with the surprise of self-discovery, stumbling on that which had been missing: an insight, a truth, an admission, a dark hole. The proposals poured in. This was an exciting time; Marjorie and I were exhilarated by the ideas that were suggested, and astonished that so few overlapped. The areas where woman had been surprised by lack of knowledge ranged from childbirth to working with men, to illness, loss, friendship and secrecy, to the power of sexual feelings, the frustrations of inherited responsibility and the recurrent patterns that haunt us.The finished essays, which arrived like dispatches from the frontier, described these varied experiences and reported on how they were confronted or accepted. Each voice was separate, and yet each connected subtly with others, as though informed by an underground stream. The essays expressed perplexity at life's offerings: injury and outrage that could not be voiced (Woman, hold thy tongue), expectations that could not be met, fulfillment arriving in unexpected places, the need for roughness, the beginning of understanding, the beginning of being able to say what had once been unsayable. Or, in my case, the apprehension of a structure that gave fluidity and ease to a long life, the gradually (or suddenly) shifting scenes, each furnished with its own noise and movement, its particular rewards and postures.We move through our chapters mostly with gratitude. Who isn't renewed by startling scenery or refreshed by undreamed-of freedoms? Surprise keeps us alive, liberates our senses. I thought for a while that a serious illness had interrupted my chaptered life, but no, it is a chapter on its own. Living with illness requires new balancing skills. It changes everything, and I need to listen to it, attend to it and bring to it a stern new sense of housekeeping.But I have time for this last exercise. All the time in the world.Carol ShieldsMarch 2000

Table of Contents

Foreword
JOAN BARFOOT—Starch, Salt, Chocolate, Wine
LORNA CROZIER—What Stays in the Family
ISABEL HUGGAN—Notes on a Piece for Carol
ANNE HART—Lettuce Turnip and Pea
BONNIE BURNARD—Casseroles
SUSAN LIGHTSTONE—Hope for the Best (Expect the Worst)
MARNI JACKSON—Tuck Me In: Redefining Attachment Between Mothers and Sons
JOAN CLARK—How Do I Look?
CLAUDIA CASPER—Victory
JANET E. BRADLEY—Middle-Aged Musings on Retirement
BETTY JANE WYLIE—The Imaginary Woman
ROSALIE BENOIT WEAVER—Life's Curves
JUNE CALLWOOD—Old Age
JAQUELINE McLEOD ROGERS—Grace After Pressure
MARGARET ATWOOD—If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything At All
CHARLOTTE GRAY—Gilding the Dark Shades
LILY REDMOND—Mrs. Jones
ISLA JAMES—Edited Version
DEBORAH SCHNITZER—Just a Part
MIRIAM TOEWS—A Father's Faith
MARTHA BROOKS—One Woman's Experience with the Ecstatic
SHARON BUTALA—Seeing
MARGARET SHAW-MACKINNON—Birth, Death and the Eleusinian Mysteries
ELEANOR WACHTEL—Speechless
HELEN FOGWILL PORTER—Juliet
RENATE SCHULZ—Hidden in the Hand
KATHERINE GOVIER—Wild Roses
CAROL HUSSA HARVEY and KATHERINE C.H. GARDINER—Reflections from Cyberspace
SANDY FRANCES DUNCAN—I Have Blinds Now
KATHERINE MARTENS—The Joys of Belly Dancing
THE HONOURABLE SHARON CARSTAIRS—Politics: Is It a Woman's Game?
BLANCHE HOWARD—The Anger of Young Men
ANNE GIARDINI—Still Life with Power
NINA LEE COLWILL—The Worth of Women's Work
Afterword

Bookclub Guide

1. Which stories stood out for you and why?2. Which stories were most disturbing or most surprising and why?3. Considering that the first volume of this book was on the best seller list of the Globe and Mail for 85 weeks, what do you think accounts for the interest from readers? What do books of this nature offer women?4. Choose your favourite piece in Dropped Threads and prepare a one-minute testimonial to share with your book club on why this piece touched you.

From Our Editors

This revealing collection of writings, edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson, examines eclectic and rarely discussed topics that pertain to women. In Dropped Threads various celebrities as well as unknown housewives and academics discuss the experiences that have amazed and disappointed them. Each piece contains a “shock of recognition” that will certainly engage the aging female reader. Essays by such literary luminaries as Margaret Atwood, June Callwood, Eleanor Wachtel, Sharon Butala and Marni Jackson are included in this unusual collection.

Editorial Reviews

“There are exciting and truly intimate entries in this book…these women take ideas even secret ones, and infuse them with poetry, scoured and buffed sentences and …stopwatch comic timing…The true depth of the collection is found in these women’s clear memories and their willingness to share.” -- Quill & Quire“It’s a collection of revealing essays and short stories by 35 Canadian women at mid-life and beyond, reflecting on the life events that caught them off guard and, somehow, haven’t been talked about…As it turns out, there are many dropped threads in our lives. Weave them together and you’ve got a tapestry.” -- Bonnie Schiedel, Chatelaine, April 2001“Dropped Threads … is a collection of 34 pieces by Canadian women in which they describe…everything they never said or were not able to say before, but which had tremendous power in their lives…[Senator Sharon Carstairs’s] essay about women in politics [is] clear-eyed and devastating …Miriam Toews examines her father’s lifelong battle with depression, which culminated in his suicide … with gentleness and insight … These are all the conversations we would wish to have with friends and these essays stimulate the sense of exuberance and relief that one always feels after a long, self-revelatory talk.” -- Virginia Beaton, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 25 Feb 2001“Dropped Threads is a much-awaited anthology of essays and stories by Canadian women, including celebrated writers as well as women who are neither writers nor famous … The angst of the women in Dropped Threads covers a wide spectrum.” -- Paul Gessell, Ottawa Citizen, 20 Jan 2001“if the value of books were measured by the insights stored within their pages, Dropped Threads would be priceless…[This] is a wonderfully well-written and excellently edited book that offers such intimate insights that it sometimes seems like a stream of consciousness. The compositions frequently make the reader feel like an eavesdropper -- and an extremely entertained one at that…The stories in Dropped Threads cathartically tie up loose ends for their writers, while providing readers with an exquisitely crafted patchwork quilt of life experiences.” -- Winnipeg Free PressOn Lily Redmond’s Mrs. Jones, writing about abortion:“One of the most powerful essays... . So many of us can talk with ease about the theory – our unwavering support for a woman's right to choose – but no woman ever wants to make that tragic choice or even admit to having once made it.” -- Pamela Wallin,@globebooks.com On Joan Barfoot’s Starch, Salt, Wine, Chocolate:“Barfoot is always interesting and her take on female friendship is clever and well observed. Loyalty, Barfoot feels, is the most important gift of friendship, although spinoffs abound.” -- Nancy Schiefer, The London Free Press

Employee Review

This book left an imprint on my soul. Thirty-five renowned authors have written delicately woven autobiographical stories/secrets about their childhood experiences, and how they shaped them into becoming the thoughtful and successful persons they are in middle age. Is aging an illusion? Does a birth certificate determine how young or old you feel inside? How does it feel to shed a family secret and then view life again with a fresh perspective? In my view, this down-home book is lofty reading for anyone who views life as a process rather than a destination. I will definitely be hand-selling this one.