Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Papa's Pearls

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I am always fascinated by people's stories. I look at the people around me and often ponder that every one of them has a story. I repeatedly tell my children that they can learn some lesson from every person they meet.

When I received the book Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom To His Children and Grandchildren, from Papa's Pearls, to review for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew I was excited to sit and read this man's story, and learn about his life.

I found this book fascinating. If I ever wrote a book, I would want it to be like this! It was funny, emotional, inspiring, sentimental, loving, and interesting! The author, Diane Flynn Keith, wrote a collection of stories about her father, Carol Joseph Flynn. Her love and admiration for her father permeated through every chapter and page.

She wove the story of his life in a biographical sense, with life principles that he taught her, her siblings, and their children, into a 112 page easy-to-read book.  The chapters are short, and each chapter highlights one or two statements that her Papa would say repeatedly to teach life lessons, along with a practical story illustrating that statement.  While I did learn about the life of Carol Joseph Flynn, including his early days of growing up in the Depression in California, I also learned how he lived by character and values and applied those principles to his life to become a successful, self-made businessman and well-loved father and grandfather.

Diane Flynn Keith chose very applicable life stories to illustrate the principles.  This book is as much a 'life-coaching' book as it is a memoir of her father. He was a Catholic man whose life was guided by strong moral values and character.

Some of my favorite 'pearls' of wisdom from the book were:
  • What's the Worst Thing That Could Happen?
  • Ya Gotta Do What Ya Gotta Do
  • Tell Yourself You Like It
  • What Were You Thinking?
  • You Gotta Roll With the Punches
  • Get It In Writing!
I found myself tearing up at some of the stories, and laughing out loud at others. One priceless recollection was of Papa cleaning up sewage without even flinching because it represented income and a job that no one else was willing to do. 

I really feel like I know this man, Carol Joseph Flynn, after reading this book. I would have enjoyed meeting him in person and talking to him. Unfortunately, he passed on in December, 2011. This book is such a wonderful tribute to his life, and to the great sphere of influence he left behind. This is a book that I will leave out on the main bookshelf and flip through over and over, just to remind myself of the principles.

How we used it: I read this book (within a few days, I might add!) and shared some of the stories with my children. The older children read through some of the chapters. We had a good laugh together over them. As soon as the older two are finished with their current literature assignments, I am going to have them read through the entire book start to finish, as I believe the life lessons and the way they are taught, through stories, will be valuable training for them. 

Age recommendations: I think this book would be great for adults who wish to become better parents and grandparents. I also think it would be a very valuable resource for teens to read, to gain some understanding of a successful life, and to learn some good character lessons. I would hesitate on giving it to a younger child to read, because of some of the more mature themes represented, when describing some of the 'hard life' that Carol Flynn lived as a young man. Also, there were two expletives in the book.

How it personally affected me:  Reading how Papa used practical everyday situations and turned them into training exercises is wonderful advice to a parent who considers character training important. Reading this book has caused me to think about how practical daily situations could be used as teachable moments for my children. It has also inspired me to look for ways to let them know that I love them as often as I can!

What does it cost?: You can purchase an autographed copy of this book directly from the author for $14.97. plus $7. for shipping. There are also options on the author's website for purchase through Amazon for the Kindle, for $6.97.

Would you like to read what other crew members thought of this book? Click the banner below:

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  1. I was delighted to read your review of "Papa's Pearls," Erica - and so happy to know it has inspired you to look for ways to tell your family you love them as often as you can. :) 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! It was a wonderful book and I truly enjoyed it.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!