Feisty: a memoir in little pieces is a whirlwind read in easily digestible pieces spanning 77 years! Despite the number of years covered, the timeline never gets confusing. The year and Jean’s age are at the beginning of each section, giving context and making the book extra readable as well as enjoyable.
It is a sacred thing to be invited into someone else’s life experiences through memoir. While reading this book I laughed aloud more times than I bothered to count, I despaired, I felt elated, and I finished the book feeling inspired!
Jean brought her life and memories alive in this book and it was an absolute joy to read.
From her childhood memories of the 1940s to having her babies in the 1960s to becoming an activist and law student in the 1970s on through the years until the present of 2023, Jean Peelen effectively draws us into her memories:
- Having a beer with Clarence Thomas.
- One of the most interesting tattoo stories I have ever heard.
- The challenges of having aging parents and an ever-aging body of one’s own.
- Running for office to save a island.
- Surviving a pandemic and watching politics go backwards.
- Finding a purpose, fighting for freedom.
And there is so much more than I listed above, those were just the bits that really grabbed my attention!
The snippets-style of Feisty is particularly well-suited to memoir because isn’t that how memories often are? Snippets, fragments, bits and pieces, all coming together to form a coherent lifetime of pain, joy, confusion, certainty… all the ways things change and the ways things stay the same.
In amongst sharing her own story, Jean imparts to the reader the vital importance of writing or telling OUR stories, even if it’s just for ourself.
We all have a completely unique life story and Jean’s story is incredibly lovely to read! Basically, I liked it very much and I think that most adults would also enjoy reading her memories. 🙂
Jean will be joining us at Off the Wall Books for an author signing and some great conversation on September 30th starting at 11am!
Previous book review by Betsy: Book Review: Almond, Quartz, and Finch by Liza Bunker