The Patron Saint of Second Chances
a debut novel by Christine Simon
on my weekday commutes to school
i listen to quite a few books
was the first one in a long time
that had me laughing out loud while driving
while i may have looked a bit crazy
it was so worth it for the belly laughs
all from this book
set in a small italian village
filled with larger than life, passionate, eccentric characters
who you will absolutely fall in love with
a community who finds a way
where no path is clear
using the power of optimism, love, and fate
(along with a few pleas to obscure patron saints)
to overcome all obstacles.
you simply will not want this beautiful story to end.
“my optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.”
image credit/publisher: atria books
on this special day
i brought out
an old treasured story
my former student, nicole
who i taught for grades k-2
(in a school where we were known by our first names)
a story about me sharing stories
made me cry happy tears to read
how much she enjoyed the stories
what ginormous heaps of praise
from a fellow roald dahl fan.
happy roald dahl story day!!
“words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
-albus dumbledore (j.k. rowling, harry potter series)
i first crossed paths
with this brave and amazing future author (trish kearney)
years ago on her blog:
“my thoughts on a page”
where she wrote about
her family, her careers, her loves and losses, her daily life in ireland
when i later traveled to ireland
we met in person
(even though her children warned her i might really be a male serial killer)
we spent a great afternoon at an outdoor pub
near the water on a beautiful day
getting to know each other
i had no idea what her whole story was
until she began writing posts about her childhood
floating the idea of writing her memoir
including painful buried trauma she had endured
as a young championship swimmer
over time she gained confidence
decided to tell her story
to find personal peace
to hold her tormentor responsible
to no longer be a victim
to help others who might not be ready to speak.
what followed was
her book, “above water”
a podcast, “where is george gibney?”
and unforeseen consequences
both good and bad.
this is a book of truths
of regaining power over one’s own life
of living to tell the tale
of an unbroken spirit
of helping others.
i give it my highest personal recommendation
here’s to you, tric, and to all who suffer in silence
you are their brave voice for each and every one of them
and i’m so proud to call you my friend.
“you don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
-Edwin Louis Cole
“above water” is available at:
the book depository (paperback – free worldwide shipping)
amazon u.s. – kindle format (and on june 21 (presale) in paperback) in the u.s.
amazon uk – available now
Not an easy read but an essential one … an important book that celebrates the power of the human spirit―Irish Independent
A completely compelling book … this is ultimately a story of Trish Kearney’s triumph―Irish Times
Trish Kearney’s memoir is proof that the powerless and betrayed can survive and triumph―Sunday Independent
An extraordinary story, at times heart-breaking but ultimately inspiring. Trish’s courage, her determination and her warmth light up those dark secret places―Woman’s Way
A powerful story beautifully told―Irish Examiner
Inspirational―Sunday Business Post
About the Author
Trish Kearney is a writer and mother of five living in Cork, Ireland. Her weekly ‘It’s My Life’ column ran in the Irish Examiner for over two years. She also has a popular blog, ‘My Thoughts on a Page’ and was awarded Best Personal Blog and Best Writer at the Irish Parenting Blog Awards in 2015.
Above Water is her first book.
Happy 92nd birthday to Nancy Drew! The first volume in the long-running girl detective series, “The Secret of the Old Clock,” was published 92 years ago under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. In a tribute to the iconic sleuth, author Theodore Jefferson writes, “Agency. It is that which forms the foundation for any hero’s ability to save the day. In America, agency for teenage girls in literature made its debut in 1930 in the person of Nancy Drew.” This original Mighty Girl character paved the way for many more heroic female characters and inspired generations of real-life girls and women.
Ghostwritten by Mildred Wirt Benson and later revised by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, the first volume of Nancy Drew had a huge influence on young readers. Nancy Drew provided them with “stories of someone like themselves who had a positive effect on the world instead of passively sitting at home… She is a character with that magical ‘what if’ question woven into her identity, and one that effortlessly captures the imaginations of readers by allowing them to participate in a world where the answers to that question are just as entertaining as the stories themselves.”
At the time, some viewed Nancy Drew as a poor role model, “contradicting adults while she squared off with the villains… she is mechanically inclined and at the same time doesn’t act like most people in the 1930s would have expected a teenage girl to act.” In fact, many libraries and bookstores refused to carry the Nancy Drew stories. Despite — or because of — that disapproval, kids collected the books voraciously, and in the midst of the Depression, used copies were shared and traded like trading cards are today. As a result, “any kid, even those who couldn’t afford new books, would very likely get to read every adventure starring their favorite character.”
The tremendous influence of Nancy Drew continues to this day asserts Jefferson: “It is difficult to overstate how powerful Nancy Drew’s presence remains in literature and in other media. She has influenced film, comics, video games and animation for  years, and will continue to do so as long as teenage girls take the lead as our heroes in the imaginative worlds of adventure.”
i loved this book series and it inspired me to be part of a neighborhood gang of childhood detectives
(the four crows – see my post below)
and i am still a huge fan of true crime, not as a criminal,
but in trying to solve the who’s, why’s, and how’s.
On leaving work, at work…
“I don’t promise to forget the mystery, but I know I’ll have a marvelous time.”
credits: theodore jefferson, the mary sue, mighty girl
as a collector of the classic golden books
i am endlessly fascinated
by their history, artwork, authors, short tales, and backstories
i finally found and ordered one i’d been looking for
“lucky mrs. ticklefeather”
which seems to have quickly made it’s way through multiple cities
only to land in detroit a few weeks ago
where is has remained
stuck in an ‘in transit’ status
ever since its arrival.
will *mrs. ticklefeather ever be found?
is she still considered lucky?
is there a rival golden book collector near me
looking for the same book?
does paul her pet puffin, have anything to do with this?
it remains to be seen and i remain hopeful
this story isn’t over yet.
*Book summary – Rare ~~ Mrs. Ticklefeather was a very thin old lady with a good sized feather in her hat, and on her feet she had tall black shoes with plenty of buttons. She lived on the top floor of a terribly high building because the top floor is the best place for getting sunshine, and, Oh, what a good thing sunshine is for thin old ladies. When her pet puffin, Paul, goes missing, the elderly Mrs. Ticklefeather becomes very upset, but the next day Paul returns and brings with him a special gift that brings her great and unexpected happiness. Great illustrations in mid- century yet modern style.
“hope is the last thing ever lost.”
some may never think of this book as great literature
yet it is clearly one of my favorite books to read aloud
while this family is different from most
they accept absolutely everyone without judgement
always making the best of things
and seeing the good in other people
the kinder think back on this
learning to say ‘it’s just topsy-turvy’
when things change, are different than they expected, or don’t go as planned
they just smile and take it all in stride
for this reason i do find it to be pretty great indeed
and i think what a beautiful lesson and way to be.
“all really good picture books are written to be read 500 times.”
(not me, just someone who also loves summer reading, but probably does not nod off like i do)
“here is this delicious book and the whole day, both yours.”
the true pleasure or summer reading lies not so much in the novel itself, the writer hildegarde hawthorne explained in 1907, but the choice to devote oneself to it. summer reading as we now know it emerged in the u.s. in the. mid-1800s, buoyed by an emerging middle class and the birth of another cultural tradition: the summer vacation.
Art credit: Couch on the Porch, Cos Cob, Frederick Childe Hassam, 1914