Monday, May 13, 2013

Papa's Pearls (Book Review)

As a person who appreciates the personal little stories that make up the bigger picture of our common history, I enjoyed the opportunity to review the book Papa's Pearls by Diane Flynn Keith (my home school friends might recognize her as the author of,, and 

Diane has written a shiny little book that is part biography (of her father, Papa, who was a Depression-Era child), and part . . . well, pearl ~ using my personal idiom I would say "nuggets of gold" ~ bits of useful information to remember and incorporate into one's daily life and attitude, in order to achieve a "happy life" (I would perhaps use the words "contented and fulfilled"??).

The book is filled with little vignettes from Papa's life, from his time as a "Newsie" in San Francisco when he was 9 and 10 years old~ selling 100 papers/day to provide lunch money for his father to his successful career as a businessman/plumber, to his conversations with his children and grandchildren and their memories of his sayings and wisdom. 

Many of the phrases that Diane shares would be considered common platitudes today, from their casual overuse (platitude is defined as a remark or statement, esp. one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful). However, it is apparent throughout the book, that rather than casual overuse, most of  Papa pearls had more of the impact of Papa developing axioms for his family (axiom~ a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true)through their very regular use. 

The difference for me is in the actual stories behind his words. We've all heard variations on the theme of "When You Fall Down~ Get Back Up, Brush Yourself Off, and Try Again!" but it becomes more meaningful and likely to be instilled as a character trait (perseverance, anyone?) when accompanied by a real-life example, or when used in an appropriate situation. 

I enjoyed reading through the book for the most part. I only had a couple of issues: There was  bit of a sense of "believe it, receive it" in places that doesn't totally jive with my personal philosophy of life, and there is one paragraph with a quote that uses coarse language, as well as one or two anecdotes that walk the line between tricking and lying (I know some folks who would get a huge kick out of those antics, and others who would be offended by them). Taken all-together, these don't make up a significant part of the book, but are worth mentioning~ when I give my recommendation, it's more of an 8 or 9 acorns out of 10... just so we're clear on that. :)

This could be a great book to give an expecting couple, or new parents~ there are many little pearls of wisdom here that would be lovely to read at the beginning of your parenting days. I also find myself taking note of certain stories and sayings I'd like to share with my family and others with friends.

Some concepts are carried out through action:
I especially like the idea of waking each child with a 5-10 minute back~rub each day... that's not the kind of mom I have been per se, but it is the picture of something lovely to aspire to ~ and reminds me of a child-hood friend's mother who "scratched" her children's backs each night~ how delightful to be on the receiving end when I slept over! 

Others are carried out by showing that you support your children, and want to help them make wise decisions:
"Everyone Deserves A Second Chance" and "Tell Yourself You Like It" are just two of the chapters that come to mind~ great stories go with those sayings... I like to think about the scrappy little boy named Carol, growing up in that very difficult time, turning into the incredibly loving, supportive, wise Papa of Diane Flynn Keith

This book made me smile, chuckle a little, and for the most part feel like I was keeping good company and following the admonition in Philippians 4:8 to think on those things that are lovely, commendable, and of good report.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: Papa's Pearls
  • Product: Papa's Pearls book
  • Ages: Adult~ Particularly New Parents (My recommendation)
  • Price: $14.97 via Amazon, or $21.97 (Includes shipping) for an autographed copy directly from Homefires.
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reviewing "Papa's Pearls," Lis. I enjoyed reading your comments on the "nuggets of gold" in the book. :) I thought you might like to know that I'm having a Papa's Pearls Father's Day Contest. Share a memory about your own father or grandfather and be entered to win a $50 Gift Card to Amazon. Get the details here: Thanks, again!


Thanks so much for letting me know you were here. I appreciate "thoughtful" comments. :)



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