Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Subtitle: “An Orphan Train Story”

Ethel obviously did her research as she prepared to write this historically accurate account. Because of the author’s skilled character development, the reader easily identifies with Iris, Rosie and Pete as they experience the streets of New York City, an orphanage, the train ride westward, and some ominous family situations in which they find themselves in Iowa.

Considered “Young Adult/Historical Fiction” this book is an easy-to-read, page turner. Readers are surprised with unexpected twists and turns in the plot, which should hold the attention of the intended audience, as well as those of us in older generations.

Other strengths of this novel include the appropriateness of the language of the characters and the author’s attention to all kinds of detail.

I rarely read fiction, so it was a stretch for me to finally open the pages of this book. The author’s husband, Ed, is a distant relative of mine. I don’t know either Ethel or Ed, but I know Ed’s two brothers quite well. So, when one of those brothers was selling her book, I felt I needed to buy it. Then, it took me a couple months for this book to reach the top of my “to read” stack. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Then, my husband had the same experience. We both read it in less than a week… in between our many other activities.

This story has “staying” power. I keep thinking about the orphan train children and the myriad of good and not-so-good, sometimes downright ugly, situations following that westward train ride… over which the children had virtually no control.

Thanks, Ethel!


Barker, Ethel. For the Love of Pete. North Liberty, Iowa: Ice Cube Press, LLC, 2012.

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I’m a Jane Fonda fan. Jane is approximately ten years older than me. I think it’s sort of a generation, admiration thing.

A few years ago I read her autobiography My Life So Far. When I retired, I started doing one of her exercise DVDs five mornings a week (“Fit and Strong”). Then a couple months ago, I added a second DVD each morning (“Walk Out”). When I discovered her 2011 book Prime Time, I ordered it. I finished reading it last week.

Subtitle is “Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit. Making the most of all of your life.” Wow, that’s really inclusive! And, yes, she covers a lot of ground in this book.

Every woman nearing retirement, or in retirement, should read this book. To write this book, Jane did her homework. In her easy-to-read style, Jane presents new, very healthy, perspectives on old age, “Act III” as she calls it. She quotes many experts and she breaks down technical terms for lay understanding. In essence, she says, in Act III we are done rehearsing, this is it, the final act, and we have to get it right or we will be left with regrets.

As I look back at my underlining and notes in the book, some of my highlights are: stay positive, keep learning, reinvent yourself, eat right, exercise, develop friendships, enjoy your partner, reduce stress, be prepared, care and nurture, become an advocate, meditate, leave a footprint, get it right.

This is what the book is all about. The subtitle says it all!


Fonda, Jane. My Life So Far. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006.
Fonda, Jane. Prime Time. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2011.

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