Other Retro Pages
BOOK REVIEW: WRITING HOME
by Cindy LaFerle
294 Pages, Hearth Stone Books - Royal Oak, Michigan
Cindy LaFerle’s most recent book Writing Home is a compilation of the
daily columns she has written for newspapers over the last ten years.
The reader is swept easily into her reality and rides along as she
navigates the typical working mom’s daily travails, told with plenty of
humor, irony, and wit laced throughout her account of daily life. In
fact, LaFerle makes her experience as a working mother (emphasis on
mother) engaging and dramatic as she leads us through her intellectual
and emotional challenges.
Each day’s column allows readers to empathize with her about the
familiar difficulties of balancing work and family. The reader will
appreciate the added humor and insight which may be applied to any
workplace or by anyone who struggles with life’s trials and
Although it seems as if we are reading casually about the life of an
ordinary person, albeit witty and able to turn a phrase, gems of wisdom
and knowledge are smoothly inserted into our minds and the reader might
just find herself a little wiser and more tolerant after each essay.
Some may even be led to make a few sage perceptions of their own.
LaFerle does all this while generously sprinkling her prose with bits
that make you laugh out loud so heartily that anyone in the room will
demand to know what’s so funny. She reminds me of an educated Erma
Bombeck with a tad of a modernized Aesop; she is humorous but also
allows for the pitfalls in life which color her stories with wisdom and
introspection and force you to recall your own similar situations.
Her musings cover a wide spectrum of the conundrums of life: be prepared
for insightful passages on child rearing, discovering, loving and losing
pets, the empty nest period and extended family, but also enjoy her
philosophical take on the working ethics of persons such as herself:
- What to give and what to take when creating an enjoyable, or
endurable social life (this includes specific tips and anecdotes on
screening one’s calls)
- Keeping oneself looking “the part” of a successful woman,
aided by that certain little black dress.
LaFerle bucks us up while she traces through the triumphs and
tragedies of having a family, especially one that is fallible and aging,
as we sometimes forget we all are.
She leaves us with hilarious yet applicable advice for how to be the
happily aging human, and it is obvious from her tidbits of sagacity to
her boulders of common sense that she is well aware that the unexamined
life is a life unlived. I will leave you with a few of her well shaped
and inspiring musings on aging with wisdom. Some of these she has taken
from others, while the wisdom of others is obviously her own.
- “Practice generosity , it makes you beautiful. Pay compliments,
give up grudges.”
- “Keep bottled water in the basement. The world is a crazy
- “Stop worshipping celebrities. There are many stellar
individuals in the neighborhood, and they are probably not in legal
And last one is my favorite:
- “Travel while your joints and bowels still work. See the wonders
of this magnificent world.”
With all the insight and humor that seems inherent to this writer,
observer, and chronicler, one hopes that she will take to the idea of
writing a book with the continuity of a novel, so one can see what her
talent will offer in a slightly different genre but with her gifts
flowing as generously as they do in her daily ruminences.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Tell us at the retro housewife hotline!