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The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them

By Amy Dickinson

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ISBN 10: 1401310125
ISBN 13: 2147483647

Dear Amy,

First my husband told me he didn’t love me. Then he said he didn’t think he had ever really loved me. Then he left me with a baby to raise by myself.

Amy, I don’t want to be a single mother. I told myself I’d never be divorced. And now here I am — exactly where I didn’t want to be! My daughter and I live in London. We don’t really have any friends here.

What should we do?


Dear Desperate,

I have an idea.

Take your baby, get on a plane, and move back to your dinky hometown in upstate New York — the place you couldn’t wait to leave when you were young. Live with your sister in the back bedroom of her tiny bungalow.

Cry for five weeks.

Nestle in with your quirky family of hometown women — many of them single, like you. Drink lots of coffee and ask them what to do. Do your best to listen to their advice but don’t necessarily follow it.

Start to work in Washington, DC. Start to date. Make friends.

Fail up.

Develop a career as a job doula. Teach nursery school and Sunday School.

Watch your daughter grow.

When she’s a teenager, just when you’re both getting comfortable, uproot her and move to Chicago to take a job writing a nationally syndicated advice column. Do your best to replace a legend. Date some more.

Love fiercely. Laugh with abandon. Grab your second chance — and your third, and your fourth.

Send your daughter to college. Cry for five more weeks.

Move back again to your dinky hometown and the women who helped raise you.

Find love, finally.

And take care.



The Mighty Queens of Freeville is great American storytelling at its best. A tale of promise postponed and scrappy survival, Amy Dickinson’s glorious triumphs are like rabbits pulled out of a hat, one after another after another. Full of hope and humor and big simple truths, it is a story told with grace and without a trace of cynicism. This is a book you will love and one you will be truly sad to finish.”
–Laura Zigman, author of Animal Husbandry

“Reading Amy’s book in bed. Wife to me: ‘Is it good?’ Me to wife: ‘Sure, but what do I care, I’m a guy?’ Wife to me: ‘Then why are you crying???
–Noah Adams, author of Piano Lessons

“In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares her life story about love and loss, parents, daughters, aunts, fathers, pets, and life from the mundane to the ridiculous to the quietly heartbreaking. Or, sometimes loudly heartbreaking, with great big honking sobs. Amy doesn’t have all the answers, but she suggests a good place to find them: at home, with the people who love you.”
–Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” and author of The Book of Vice: Naughty Things (and How to Do Them)

“Common sense, a practical nature, and a searing sense of social justice are the hallmarks of Amy Dickinson’s advice column. Now, in a delicious and hilarious memoir, Amy gives us her worldview via Main Street with wit and originality, through her own bejeweled binoculars. The view is never, for a moment, self-indulgent. She’s a wise and fair queen for sure. Long Live Amy!”
–Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of the Big Stone Gap series, Lucia, Lucia, and Very Valentine


When I last saw him, Peanut Jesus was lying swaddled in a teeny tiny piece of paper towel, resting sweetly in his cardboard manger. I turned my back for a minute in order to stop a covey of boys from putting together a tabletop football game pitting the W

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The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them

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