4 out of 4 stars
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"Memories, no matter how large or small, by themselves seem insignificant. But when collected and placed in a mental collage, they manifest into an intricate picture of what we call life."
Bare Feet, Chicken Beaks and Blackberry Pie by Marti J. Powell Shrigley is a collection of "modern-day parables." Written in first-person narrative and from a Christian perspective, Shrigley shares memories of her family, childhood mischief, school, holiday celebrations, and life on a farm. She reflects on her feelings as the middle child between two sisters and her struggles with typical sibling rivalry and jealousy, as well as learning acceptance of herself and others. Some chapters are peppered with humorous family anecdotes while others address life’s challenges. Though Shrigley has faced loss and illness, she chooses to focus on the positive while sharing her faith with those she encounters along the way.
With 146 pages and occasional family photographs, this uplifting collection is a relatively short read that I finished in one sitting. While mediocrity is the term Shrigley uses to summarize her life, " ...the middle child of three sisters in the middle of the century to middle-class parents," I found nothing mediocre about the book. It's well-written, exceptionally edited, and entertaining. Shrigley's conversational writing style reads as though she might be sharing her story over a cup of coffee with a friend. Readers will be amused by the mischievous antics of three sisters living on a farm during simpler times, as well as the nicknames Shrigley gives her teenage boyfriends, "Mr. Muscles," and "Green Eyes." Her insight is also impressive; Shrigley describes looking through opposite ends of an old pair of binoculars and offers a poignant comparison of their views with aging and looking back over one's life.
I particularly enjoyed the author's light-hearted approach and positivity despite having faced some formidable challenges in her life. Shrigley is outspoken about her Christian beliefs but doesn't sugarcoat her experiences or flaws, and readers will appreciate her transparency. Shrigley consistently prioritizes sharing her faith with those who cross her path and practices what she preaches by forgiving those who have wronged her.
I honestly can't name a thing I disliked about this inspirational book. I am pleased to rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It's a reflective read with a touch of humor--perfect for curling up with on a quiet afternoon. I recommend the book to readers who appreciate Christian memoirs. It will also appeal to those who enjoy stories related to farm life and growing up during the fifties and sixties. On the other hand, readers who dislike reading scriptural references will prefer to pass on this one.
Bare Feet, Chicken Beaks and Blackberry Pie
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