Kirkus Review

Kirkus Review is here!! (And it’s a good one)-

The continuing adventures of a family in Vermont. In magazine articles about the state of American families and their homes, writers will often wistfully long for a time when things were simpler—even while acknowledging that, technically, there was no such time—when families were tightly knit in the bonds they shared. It makes for a good article, but the truth is different; this sort of family exists now just as much in “the good old days.” That truth also makes for a good book, as readers of Stimson’s Mud Season (2013) can attest. More proof arrives in her second book, which largely picks up where the first one left off. Stimson, her husband and their three children are still living in rural Vermont, dealing with all of the changes that come as children become teenagers and marriages find their patterns. It’s difficult to tell, in a satisfying way, whether Stimson’s family has an unusually high number of stories that read like heartwarming and amusing family comedy films. For example: Daughter Hannah has a new boyfriend; he’s a decade older than she is, and he’s Republican, while the family is liberal. He’s coming with Hannah to meet the family over brunch; mom also has an elaborate dinner party planned later in the day; before the brunch, mom inadvertently sets the dining room table on fire. Maybe the author’s clan doesn’t have more mishaps and amusing anecdotes than the average family, and it’s simply her engaging writing style that shapes their experiences into these well-balanced stories. Either way, it’s an enjoyable journey for readers. Stimson’s children will be lucky in having these stories of their lives to pass down through the generations; the rest of us only get to visit for a while, but it’s a visit to remember.

Here they come! Advanced reviews for Good Grief!

The Booklist Review is in!

In Stimson’s second delightful memoir, following Mud Season (2013), she is no longer a fish out of water. She and husband John have shed the albatross “Horrible Quaint Country Store” that very nearly brought the house of Stimson-Rushing down in Mud Season. Instead, they have adjusted to life as adoptive Vermonters, scoring fresh milk from neighborhood cows and eggs from their very own chickens. This time around the focus is on family—kids Benjamin, Hannah, and Eli; ex-husband, Steve; and dogs too numerous to name—and the kinds of things that seem to blindside us all. Stimson makes great, entertaining reading out of kids’ unusual dating selections, shark attacks, sudden illness, and even an untimely death. Entertaining? Yes. She has that particular way with words and storytelling that makes the most out of learning to deal with grief. All of life’s moments are not amusing, some are downright terrifying, and others are laugh-out-loud funny, but Stimson comes through, in retrospect, with the goods to offer wisdom and a noteworthy perspective.

— Donna Chavez