Tag Archives: Humor

Book Review: A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

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A Long Way from Chicago was a gift I received years ago.  Sadly, though, I did not get around to reading it for some time.  But when I did I learned just what I had been missing.

The novel revolves around Joey Dowdel and the adventures he and his sister Mary Alice have as they are growing up.  Every August during the Great Depression the two are sent down south to stay with their grandmother in her small Illinois town.  They call her Grandma; the neighbors call her Mrs. Dowdel.  We readers know her as Grandma Dowdel.

Grandma Dowdel is as big as a barge and as odd as only an old lady who has lived by her wits and her will can be.  On their first visit, Joey and his sister learn that Grandma likes her privacy.  She does not want any snoopy neighbors poking their noses into her business, period.  So when a fancy-shmancy reporter comes to town to do a story on the recently deceased “Shotgun” Cheatham’s life history, Grandma decides to send the man packing.  But she does it in the most unexpected way possible:  she hosts Cheatham’s remains in her house, sitting up with the dead until he can be buried!

If you think that is a recipe for fun, wait until next summer, when Grandma teaches the Cowgill brothers not to go around blowing up mailboxes and privies – especially if it is her mailbox!  The year after that, she takes her grandchildren on a crime spree in order to feed the hungry – and put the town sheriff in his place.  😉

The high jinks only get higher as the summers pass.  Despite the Depression, Grandma finds plenty of ways not only to keep her grandchildren busy, but to maintain the rhythm and security of the town she says she “couldn’t give two hoots about.”  Joey and Mary Alice – along with the reader – never know what is going to happen next.

And that is just the way Grandma Dowdel likes it.

A Long Way from Chicago is a rip-roaring good book.  It is full of laughs.  Rereading it again a little while ago, I was surprised at how much I had forgotten.  I was equally surprised at how much the book made me laugh!

There are two sequels to this book, possibly three, and they are as hilarious as this one – maybe even more so.  Richard Peck’s series is classic, readers; this blogger recommends it highly.  And since I happen to “give two hoots” about you, I suggest that you grab a copy of A Long Way from Chicago and start reading!

See you around!

The Mithril Guardian

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Quotable Quotes #13

Whoever wishes to hold the fortress of contemplation must first train in the camp of action. – Pope St. Gregory the Great

The “digital highway” is a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope.” – Pope Francis

To be interested in the changing seasons… is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. – George Santayana, philosopher

I’m always very fearful when academics get ahold of comedy. Comedy is such a clear thing – people laugh or they don’t laugh. – Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live co-creator

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failing. – Jack Lemmon

To love is to see light. – Victor Hugo

Beauty awakens the soul to act. – Dante Alighieri

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! – John Muir

The most beautiful things in the world are not seen nor touched. They are felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. – George Washington Carver

You should take your job seriously but not yourself. That is the best combination. – Dame Judi Dench

America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand. – Harry S. Truman

Beauty is not caused. It is. – Emily Dickinson

Beauty is whatever gives joy. – Edna St. Vincent Millay

Not being funny doesn’t make you a bad person. Not having a sense of humor does. – David Rakoff, author

Quotable Quotes #1

Air, Fire, and Water

The world is a solemn place, with room for tennis. – John Berryman

I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time. – Charles Schulz (PEANUTS)

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought. – William Osler

Why should the devil have all the best tunes? – Rowland Hill, English clergyman

You are what you eat. – Ludwig Feuerbach, German philosopher

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much. – Oscar Wilde

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. – Mark Twain

Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth. – Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer

Since when was genius found respectable? – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet

He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – George Bernard Shaw

A poet can survive everything but a misprint. – Oscar Wilde

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It is jolted by every pebble on the road. – Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman