Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (10/15)
“Aunt Susy’s Boarding House” by Joy Swan is a beautiful compilation of memories and stories. Having lived during a very eventful time in history Ms. Swan looks back on her childhood, both the good, and the not so good, with fond feelings. The author delivers an open view of her life, which takes a lot of courage.
This book shows what life was like in the early 20th century in Maine. It was very interesting to read about the life styles of a family with roots back to the Mayflower. I enjoyed learning about the ancestors of the author, and their journey of settlement in Maine. Ms. Swan shares many stories about her mother, along with a variety of other family members, including grandparents, aunts, and others. There is also some beautiful poetry throughout the book written by her mother, and this book is a wonderful tribute to her mother’s writing. Swan obviously has a deep love and caring for her family, and is also willing to share the darker times with the reader, which allows the reader to truly connect with her.
While my life story is quite different from Ms. Swan’s, I found I connected with her through her stories. It was interesting to realize that we both had several life experiences that were similar even though our life styles were so different, with many generations separating us. I believe that the best books are those where the reader can be touched personally by the story, and this book indeed does that for the reader.
I highly recommend “Aunt Susy’s Boarding House” by Joy Swan to anyone interested in reading about a woman with beautiful memories who is willing to be vulnerable and express herself through words. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its simplicity.