Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PLANTING DANDELIONS: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

 GIVEAWAY ENDED
PLANTING DANDELIONS
FIELD NOTES FROM A 
SEMI-DOMESTICATED LIFE
BY KYRAN PITTMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Introducing a writer with a keen eye, a wicked tongue, and an appealing take on family.

In the family of Jen Lancaster and Elizabeth Gilbert, Kyran Pittman is the laid-back middle sister: warm and witty and confiding, with an addictively smart and genuine voice-but married with three kids and living in the heartland. Relatable and real, she writes about family in a way that highlights all its humor, while at the same time honoring its depth.

A regular contributor to Good Housekeeping, Pittman is well loved because she is funny and honest and self-deprecating, because her own household is in chaos ("semi-domesticated"), and because she inspires readers in their own domestic lives. In these eighteen linked, chronological essays, Pittman covers the first twelve years of becoming a family, writing candidly and hilariously about things like learning to maintain a marriage over time; dealing with the challenges of sex after childbirth; saying good-bye to her younger self and embracing the still attractive, forty-year-old version; and trying to "recession- proof" her family (i.e., downsize to avoid foreclosure).

From a fresh new talent, celebrating the joys and trials of a new generation of parents, Planting Dandelions is an entertaining tribute to choosing the white-picket fence over the other options available, even if you don't manage to live up to its ideals every day.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kyran Pittman is a contributing writer for Good Housekeeping. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. 


READING GUIDE FOR BOOK CLUBS:
PLANTING DANDELIONS would make for great discussion at a book club. If you should decide to choose this book, here is some help to get the discussion started.

Discussion Questions:

1. In the introduction, the author argues that domestic life can be just as life-altering and awesome as more exotic experiences—that "the path that winds through the backyard, can be just as meaningful and wondrous as the one that goes up the mountaintop." Do you agree? Do depictions of family life in popular culture tend to support or refute the author's claim? 

2. Kyran and Patrick's love story begins while she is married to someone else, "a gentle and kind man," whom she abandons, for life in a foreign county with a man she met on the internet. Did that revelation elicit judgment or empathy from you, initially? How do those circumstances color the author's credibility in writing about marriage and commitment?

Because questions can often be spoilers, I won't post the rest but if you are interested, you can go right HERE to find them.

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
PLANTING DANDELIONS: FIELD NOTES FROM A SEMI-DOMESTICATED LIFE by Kyran Pittman is a collection of real-life essays about a wife and a mother. In other words, about a woman very much like most of us. However, don’t think being married and a parent are prerequisites for enjoying this collection of sometimes painful, always brutally honest, but also hilarious for the most part, essays. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this book. I am not fond of reading essays but have to say that PLANTING DANDELIONS was pretty good. I liked how Pittman organized the essays in order but you could pick out any one of them and read it on its own and it would make sense. I preferred, however, to read them in order to give it more of a narrative story feel myself. I found I could relate to many of the author’s honest feelings and did find myself laughing at so many of her recollections. It pleased me that family is so very special to her as it is to me.

The “narrative” begins with Kyran Pittman making an important life change. She actually leaves her marriage to go off with someone she fell in love with over the internet. Now I see some eyes rolling, like so many of you haven’t met your husband that way? OK?! Well, maybe not, but you quickly learn that Pittman is not only honest as I said, but also not very conventional. She is especially opposed to forms of commitment and prefers to be less than traditional in her life…or she did then. But again, with that honesty, she doesn’t make up lies about what she did or excuses. Pittman even goes as far as to admit that the husband she left was a really good man.

Her new internet love actually does turn out to be a good guy and they marry convinced they will continue their lives together along this unconventional path only to find out that that too will soon change. Before we know it, Kyran is yearning for the 2.5 kids and house in the burbs. Sure enough, 3 sons later, they find themselves back in the world most of us live in dealing with everything from the joy of kids to possessions to financial disaster and yes, even getting older! The couple moves from Canada to Arkansas and readers find themselves enjoying the short essays that tell  about all these events, usually with great humor. 


This is what makes PLANTING DANDELIONS an easy and enjoyable read. I took great pleasure reading about when she failed to carry out tooth fairy responsibilities and how as an adult, you can look back and laugh but at the time your heart breaks at the GREAT harm you just know you inflicted on your child. I say I enjoyed it because I remember being about 4 and coming out of bed on a Christmas Eve and spying my mom pulling a bunny rabbit hand puppet out of the armoire and the startled and pained look on her face as she shuffled me back to bed “before Santa came”. I must have been really dumb because nothing clicked about bunny the next morning from Santa until I was somewhere in my teens!

The book includes a Reading Guide in the back complete with questions and this does make me think about how much fun this book would be to talk about with my book club although I am not sure our gabby group would need to read a book in order to come up with some of the answers and relate them to our own experiences. Whether you read PLANTING DANDELIONS for a group or on your own, I think most people would enjoy it because not only is it a quick and entertaining read, but it also makes you think with each essay and topic.
 
GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO LYDIA AND THE GOOD 
PEOPLE AT PENGUIN BOOKS,
I HAVE ONE HARDBACK COPY
OF THIS  BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!
    
--U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES, PLEASE
--INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS IN COMMENT
--ALL ENTRIES/COMMENTS MUST BE
SEPARATE IN ORDER TO COUNT
AS MORE THAN ONE ENTRY
HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT PLANTING DANDELIONS ABOVE THAT WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK
 
+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE WAY THAT YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG. IF IT IS MORE THAN ONE, PLEASE ENTER EACH SEPARATELY

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MAY 23!    
GOOD LUCK!



68 comments:

debbie said...

I like the genuinely funny look at things in life. I know I have done things along the way, that I thought for sure was going to damage my son. But, it didn't and we laugh about it now. I would like to read this book.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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Karen B said...

"She doesn’t make up lies about what she did or excuses. Pittman even goes as far as to admit that the husband she left was a really good man." That hooked me!

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lag123 said...

I have always had a plan for my life and have lived accordingly. Now that I am older, I realize that you don't have to live by the rules all the time. I would love to read this author's take on life.

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dogwood said...

I've really been looking forward to reading this one. Being from Arkansas, I can imagine moving here from Canada (from just about anywhere) was quite an adjustment!

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traveler said...

This book would be interesting especially being from Nfld. and then On. and moving to the U.S. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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petite said...

A fascinating book which would be enjoyable. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

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Tore said...

The book sounds very interesting. I would like to read it. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

Liz V. said...

Like question section in back. Trying to form book club.

Follow you by checking at least once daily.

catherine said...

from canada to arkansas...thats pretty funny in itself. she left one my for someone she met online? wow.
charlcr(at)aol.com

Christa said...

I really want to read this book to see the author's life. She seems to have a crazy one, very different than mine. I think it would be very interesting.

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Carol N Wong said...

I like that she is very honest and has a sense of humor. She must really been a risk taker, leaving her husband for someone that she met on the internet! I think I would enjoy her essays.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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Amy said...

I am intrigued that Kyran Pittman is compared to Jen Lancaster and Elizabeth Gilbert, two terrific writers. I am also intrigued because I enjoy essays and Pittman's are about everyday life and family written with self-depracating humor and warmth. Sounds like a winning book!

Thank you for this giveaway!

Aimala127(at)gmail(dot)com

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mamabunny13 said...

Reading your opinion of the book made me want to read it
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M. said...

I'm interested to see what a writer positioned between Jen Lancaster and Elizabeth Gilbert would have to say!

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Linda Kish said...

I always enjoy reading other people's honest stories of life lessons. We all have some great tales but some tell them better than others.

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Katia said...

I love inspiring stories.
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bloomerbear said...

I find this interesting because it's real live people


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thanks bunches

G. said...

PLANTING DANDELIONS
FIELD NOTES FROM A
SEMI-DOMESTICATED LIFE
BY KYRAN PITTMAN sounds like a wonderful book would love to win!

gka444 (at) gmail (dot) com

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