Anyone who’s enjoyed Kyran Pittman as a blogger (originally at Notes to Self, now at Planting Dandelions, I guess to synch blog and book under one easy-to-find title), or as a writer for Good Housekeeping magazine, will no doubt already have their hands on a copy of Planting Dandelions, her just-released memoir. Even if, like me, you have to convince the guys at Chapters to get it out of the box in the back of the store because it just arrived off the truck (the Chapters guy made me feel the cover so I could appreciate how freshly-arrived in the store it was. “It’s still cool from being on the truck,” he said).
If you’re not already a fan, but you like frank and funny memoirs (oh, and you know I do!!), then you have to check this out. Especially if you like frank and funny memoirs about marriage and parenting. Pittman’s writing is hilarious but also beautiful, disarmingly honest, and sometimes a little painful (but in the good way).
There are parts of her story I can’t relate to at all (like settling down into marriage and family life after being a self-confessed “wild child” — hard for me to relate since I was, as you all know, the least wild child ever) and parts I can relate to all too well — like the fabulous chapter “D.I.Y. spells Die,” all about her shortcomings in the homemaking department. But whether Pittman is giving us a glimpse into a life quite different from our own, or shining a glaring spotlight on a life that’s far too much like our own, her writing is always fresh, revealing and funny.
One note about this review: although Pittman lives in Arkansas and you’ll see her reviewed and interviewed as an Arkansas author, I have taken the liberty of tagging her both as a Canadian and a Newfoundland author. Not only is she from here originally, she is the daughter of one of Newfoundland’s literary icons, poet Al Pittman. You don’t need to know or care who her father is to appreciate her work on its own merits, but if you do happen to know that fact and you’ve enjoyed the fine-tuned language that raises Planting Dandelions a step above many memoirs, you’ll recognize that the poetry in the Pittman family didn’t stop with Al.