MN Reads: “Dumb Dumb Dumb: My Mother's Book Reviews” a Memoir by Mary Jo Pehl
Dumb Dumb Dumb: My Mother's Book Reviews utilizes a truly unique source material: short book reviews from a deceased parent. "My father and I were cleaning out [my mother's] things and we came across this recipe box... with over four hundred 3x5 index cards," recounts author Mary Jo Pehl. Each index card contained a book review from Pehl's mother. "Those little reviews... really were a springboard for fashioning a memoir about my mother."
The memoir takes non-linear steps through Pehl's lifetime and frequently calls back to correlating book reviews from Pehl's mother. The incorporated reviews (which always relate to the present topic within the book) provide a secondary voice to the memoir and offer moments of reflection that are at times humors and other times tragic.
Along with the comedy/tragedy balance, the memoir also bridges the gap between personal and relatable. For Pehl, this bridge seems like the natural course. "I think in all of our stories there are elements of universality," says Pehl. "I just wanted to tell my story and tell about my amazing mom who always thought she was average - and it turns out none of us really are average."
For more information or to purchase the book, visit the Redhawk Publications website.
Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.