Tag Archives: 1960s

WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour | Review of Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the ’60s & ’70s, An Anthology (edited by Kate Farrell, Linda Joy Myers & Amber Lea Starfire)

Cover Image from Goodreads

Image via Goodreads

Advance Praise

“We lived in the Haight-Ashbury and on Bourbon Street and the high plains of Oklahoma. We wore hip-huggers, tie-dyes, military uniforms,  and fringed ponchos embroidered with peace signs. We danced and marched and organized and loved and broke all the rules. We were changing, and we changed the world. I love this book because it is written by women who were on the scene–and such a scene it was! If you were there, it will remind you of those remarkable years. If you weren’t, you’ll be amazed and delighted and proud of the brave women who have written these stories and poems. Thank you, lovely women, for telling us about it!”

~ Susan Wittig Albert, author of A Wilder Rose
and founder of Story Circle Network


These forty-eight powerful stories and poems etch in vivid detail the breakthrough moments experienced by women during the life-changing era that was the ’60s and ’70s. And finally, here, they tell it like it was. Their stories range from Vietnam to France, from Chile to England, from the Haight-Ashbury to Greenwich Village, and from the Deep South to the Midwest. They write of cultural reverberations that reached into farm kitchens and city “pads,” from coffeehouse jazz clubs to psychedelic rock concerts. This inspiring collection celebrates the women of the ’60s and ’70s, reminds them of the importance of their legacy, and seeks to motivate young women today.

(Synopsis from back cover)

* * *

My Thoughts:

The ’60s and ’70s in America were fraught with change — changes in society, among the sexes, within the military, between the establishment and the anti-establishment, in mode of dress, in what we smoked, in what we read and how we interpreted it, between parents and children, between students and institutions of higher learning. We were a society attempting to learn where we each, as an individual, fit into the whole without it being too painful.

The editors of Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the ’60s & ’70s have compiled 48 stories and poems vividly describing the palpable changes experienced by women during this tumultuous time. Finally, these women have their voice to share life like it really was.

Each woman with her individual voice tells her story and in telling becomes a part of the larger whole. These women as a collective in this anthology celebrate the women of their generation with remembrances of the importance of actions and beliefs and the legacy left for the young women of today.

If you were around in this period, you may have been one of these women in another town and state, another country, another college. Likely, you too had a story to tell, and perhaps your story is told by another in this anthology.

If you weren’t around during the ’60s and ’70s, perhaps you have wondered what those 20 years were all about. You are fortunate for within these pages the details are vividly recounted for you by this group of women so that you can learn from them. Learn that all women have a voice. We must be courageous enough to exercise it and stand tall after doing so.

A long overdue and telling collection of prose and poetry emblematic of the times that were changing in the ’60s and ’70s.

* * *

My Recommendation: 

Times They Were A-Changing is a powerful read for anyone who reads it. The stories shared lay out in honesty and detail the way things really were. Nothing is held back and from these women we are reminded what life was then and where we’ve traveled to in 2013. For young women today, these stories will give you the courage and self-confidence to move forward with the continuation of the equalities and justice fought so hard to win and still needing to be fought for in some arenas.

* * *

Meet the Editors:

Editors of Times They Were A-Changing

Editors Kate Farrell, Amber Lea Starfire and Linda Joy Myers

I could bore you with the traditional bios that authors and editors place on Goodreads, Amazon or the dust covers of their books. However, these three editors wrote special bios for the launch and events surrounding the anthology, and I found them quite interesting. If you’d like to read more, just click here and you’ll be taken to the page with the scoop!

* * *


Publisher: She Writes Press
Published: September 8, 2013
Genre: Memoir, Prose & Poetry Anthology
ISBN-10: 978193831409
Paperback: 336 pages

Times They Were A-Changing is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, Kindle Store and Barnes & Noble.

I received a copy of Times They Were A-Changing from the publisher via WOW! Women on Writing in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I am not an affiliate of any of the retailers mentioned above.


Coming of Age in the South in 1963 | Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

by: Susan Crandall
Published: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Source: NetGalley


From an award-winning author comes a wise and tender coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old girl who runs away from her Mississippi home in 1963, befriends a lonely woman suffering loss and abuse, and embarks on a life-changing roadtrip.

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, (read more here) . . .

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

* * *

My Thoughts:

Not only did the cover capture my attention, the synopsis described a setting in the South in the 1960s, a time in history I cannot forget. No one else who lived through it can forget it either.

Starla Claudelle’s coming of age is different from any coming of age any one of us might have experienced. Running away from home to avoid her grandmother’s punishments, Starla finds herself traveling the road with a black woman, Eula, who has a white baby with her, having supposedly found the child on the church steps.

To make bad matters worse it’s 1963, and it’s a dangerous time to be a white child seen in the “custody” of a black woman. Starla receives an education better than any school could offer her. Her eyes witness the world of prejudice and race relations in a way the rest of us growing up in the South in the 1960s never saw.

Starla’s story is told with tenderness, grace and wisdom by Susan Crandall. Crandall has a creative hand in developing her characters. They are so real you feel as if you’ve known them a long time. The relationships she develops between her characters are palpable and filled with emotion. Crandall, an award-winning author, most likely has an award waiting for her after taking Starla Claudelle on the journey of a lifetime.

My Recommendation: 

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of Southern fiction, coming of age stories, and the beauty of love growing out of respect, security and truth, no matter the color of your skin nor the blood you carry in your veins.

* * *

Meet the Author:

Susan Crandall (Source: Goodreads)

Susan Crandall
(Source: Goodreads)

BACK ROADS was Susan Crandall’s first solo work, her first published work, and her first award winning novel, winning a RITA for Best First Book and two National Reader’s Choice Awards.

Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many years and plans to stay. She and her husband have two grown children. “They make me proud every day,” Susan glows. “My son, who has the heart of a poet, is also a writer. My daughter, who is both beautiful and brilliant, is about to take her first steps into the working world of science.”

For more on Susan Crandall, visit her website.

(Source for Bio: Goodreads)

* * *

I received a copy of Whistling Past the Graveyard from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

* * *

NEXT REVIEW: We’ll take a look at Marion Elizabeth Witte’s book, Little Madhouse on the Prairie. Marion shares a story of strength and courage in her memoir. Hoping to see you here on Tuesday, September 17th.

The Chosen Shell by Katherine Sartori

Image and Synopsis - Katherine Burns Sartori

Image and Synopsis – Katherine Burns Sartori

The Chosen Shell 
by Katherine Sartori
Publisher: Dream Traveler Press
Published: January 19, 2012
Genre: Fiction | Memoir
Source: Author
Celie O’Rourke, sensing a calling from God, enters a California convent during the 1960s, a turbulent era of change in the Catholic Church. Four years later, she is teaching Latino children with great success. But the cult-like practices of her monastic Order threaten her fragile self-confidence, as she grapples with sexual feelings she can no longer suppress.Celie’s charismatic Superior offers her guidance and friendship plus the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream… but these gifts come with a high price. Confused, she takes refuge at a retreat house where she meets an accomplished New York businessman, Tony DeStephano. Though from different worlds, the bond they feel is electric… but forbidden.A former nun, author Katherine Sartori has created a fictional story, inspired by her own experiences as well as those of the Sisters she met. Her novel seeks to contrast idealism with the realities of convent living.

My Thoughts:

Katherine Sartori opens a cache of experiences and shares them with her readers through the fictional story of Celie O’Rourke, a young girl who enters a convent in the tumultuous 1960s.  Celie’s eyes become our eyes as we live her day-by-day existence inside the walls of the convent.

Sartori brings to the page characters so vivid and alive the reader feels as if he or she is living with them.  One can feel pulses race, hearts beat, tears fill eyes.  An example of her gift of character development is found here:

Celie couldn’t take her eyes off this charismatic nun, a recognized dynamo in the congregation.  No taller than five foot four, Sister Gerald carried her muscular frame like a Cherokee princess, her shoulders thrown back in a statuesque posture demanding attention.  A smattering of freckles dotted the woman’s imposing nose and high cheekbones.  (Kindle Loc 547)

Immediately we see Sister Gerald.  We know something of her personality — charismatic, dynamic; her physical build — not too tall, muscular; her carriage — like a Cherokee princess, statuesque; her facial features — freckles, imposing nose, high cheekbones.

All Sartori’s characters are equally well-developed and described.  It makes reading her work a joy.

Further, she develops scene just as well.  As soon as Celie gathers with other novitiates and nuns for her first meal at the convent, the solemnity of the room strikes the reader at once:

Dinner was an austere experience, as they ate in complete quiet while a nun read about the life of a saint Celie had never heard of before.  * * *  Celie eyed the salt and pepper shakers, but they were just out of reach and no one noticed her need .  * * * [T]hey must focus, not on their own desires, but on those of others.  Celie decided she had to put up with the stew’s bland taste.  This would be her first sacrifice as an Augustinian.  (Kindle Loc 373)

Imagine the heaviness of finding yourself at such a mealtime after growing up in a home full of family and lots of talking and sometimes shouting.  The use of words like “austere,” “complete quiet,” “no one noticed her need,” “bland,” and “her first sacrifice” allow us to see into that room and experience the strangeness of this meal in Celie’s mind and her growing awareness of how her life is changing minute by minute.

During Celie’s first years in the convent, many changes are taking place in the Catholic church as well as the world, some of which the younger nuns welcome and some of which older nuns are definitely not favoring.  In the midst of these changes and growing changes in Celie’s life as a nun are the conflicting feelings Celie has as a woman coming into that stage of life when she begins to think of making a home, meeting that love of her life and raising a family.  All of this makes for a story that moves quickly through each difficulty and emotion with rapid pace.

Coupling these gifts of writing with the ability to draw from her own story, Sartori gifts her readers with an amazingly well written story rich in detail and feeling.  I cannot recommend this book more highly than to call it, in my opinion, a must read.

* * *

Meet the Author:

Katherine (Kas) Sartori recreated her life when she left the convent, teaching children and college students, as well as writing for several corporations. Now she enjoys being a mom and a grandma in California, and loves traveling the world with her husband Joe. Calling herself a Dream Traveler on her blog, she writes about the adventure of continually re-inventing ourselves.

Please take a moment to visit Kas’ website.

* * *

I want to thank Kas for the opportunity to read and review The Chosen Shell.

* * *

Up next: A Kingsbury Collection | Three Novels in One by New  York Times best-selling author, Karen Kingsbury.  

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice

I’ve just posted my review of Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice on my writing blog, Healing by Writing.

* * *

Our library has the most charming annex, The Pond House, where used books and an assortment of other used library materials are sold at ridiculously low prices.  After visiting the annual book sale, I suggested we drop in to see what was on hand at The Pond House.

That day there was a plethora of memoirs for $1-$2, and I picked up several.  Among them was Anne Rice’s memoir, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession.  

Rice’s story chronicles her life in and out of Called Out of Darknessthe Catholic church from her childhood in New Orleans to the writing of her memoir in 2008.

The beauty of the church building where her family attended Mass and the words she heard in the liturgy fascinated Rice as a young girl.

(Read more here . . .)

%d bloggers like this: