Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Papa's Pearls (non-fiction)

In April I had the opportunity to review a free copy of the book Papa's Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom To His Children and Grandchildren, by Diane Flynn Keith.

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When I first received the book I was excited to see it was autographed by the author. Thanks Diane! You can get an autographed copy, like mine, for $21.97, or see the website for other options.

Diane Flynn Keith had a wonderful relationship with her father, "Papa", as did all of her family. This book is a collection of stories that illustrate his wit and wisdom, which he passed on to his family over the years. Most of the stories are told by his daughter, Diane, but also by many of his family, including his grandchildren. It is easy to read between the lines that Papa was much loved. . . and loved much.

This book is short and is an easy read. It is just over 100 pages and has 17 chapters, so each chapter is about 5-6 pages (some longer, some shorter). We used this book as a read-aloud in our home, and read a chapter or two at bedtime. Her style of writing is easy to read and the kids were drawn into the stories. They always begged for "just a little more."

Some of the pearls of wisdom from her Papa included:

  • "You gotta have street smarts" Diane stressed how her Papa let them have the freedom to learn in the real world, but within the protective boundaries they had been taught. This was meaningful to me as we explore this topic daily on our farm. 
  • "Get it in writing!" She shared how he learned, and encouraged his kids, to make definite agreements instead of relying on a whim. (Emma's favorite: she has been making everyone sign contracts for everything, since reading the book!)
  • "Fantastic" The power of a positive outlook.
  • "You gotta do what you gotta do." Work ethic.
  • "If you ever need anything, you got it." The power of having family to back you up. 
  • "I love you. You know that, right?" The amazing encouragement of knowing you are loved unconditionally, and the importance of expressing it. 
  • and many more, all told in a fun and entertaining way!

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Overall we enjoyed the book, and found it a fun read. I had no trouble getting through it. We did have a few places where as parents we had to "edit" as we read, as she talked about prostitution and things of that nature. This is not a book I would likely hand off to a child to read alone. When we read through some of the tougher topics (which were more lightly brushed, not dwelt on), we just took the time to discuss them as needed. By skipping over things we felt were too mature, it really wasn't a big issue.

Another observation my kids made, was that the stories of Papa's life were not in a linear format. This made the first several chapters confusing for them, but they came to accept it later in the book. I think a more chronically oriented arrangement would benefit the book, but the chapters were each enjoyable on their own.

The Bottom Line:

This book is a throwback to common sense and wisdom from a father. It was written in a light-hearted and  storied fashion and was enjoyable to read for all of us. While it is more suitable for adults, my kids (ages 5-11) appreciated reading it with me, as I edited out the few places it covered mature content. I think we all benefited from the perspective given by "Papa's Pearls."

I was not the only one reading this book. For more reviews and thoughts on Papa's Pearls, visit the Crew.


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*Prices and links are accurate at the time this is published, and are subject to change.


  1. Hi Laura! Thank you for reviewing "Papa's Pearls." I loved reading that Emma is taking "Get It in Writing" to heart. :) I thought you might like to know that I'm having a Papa's Pearls Father's Day Contest. Share a memory about your own father or grandfather on my blog and be entered to win a $50 Gift Card to Amazon. Get the details here: Thanks, again! 

    1. Thank you Diane! I will have to check it out for sure! Thanks again for the book! It was a blessing. :)


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