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Book Review ~ Many Hands Make Light Work By Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy

About the Book


Many Hands Make Light Work is the rollicking true story of a family of nine children growing up in the college town of Ames, Iowa in the ’60s and ’70s. Inspiring, full of surprises, and laugh-out-loud funny, this utterly unique family champions diversity and inclusion long before such concepts become cultural flashpoints.
Cheryl and her siblings are the offspring of an eccentric professor father and unflappable mother. Mindful of their ever-expanding family’s need for cash, her parents begin acquiring tumbledown houses in campus-town, to renovate and rent. Dad, who changes out of his suit and tie into a carpenter’s battered white overalls, like Clark Kent into Superman, is supremely confident his offspring can do anything, whether he’s there or not. Mom, an organizational genius disguised as a housewife, manages nine children so deftly that she finds the time―and heart―to take in student boarders, who stir their own offbeat personalities into this unconventional household. The kids, meanwhile, pour concrete, paint houses, and, at odd moments, break into song, because instead of complaining, they sing as they work, like a von Trapp family in painters caps.
Free-wheeling and contagiously cheerful, Many Hands Make Light Work is a winsome memoir of a Heartland childhood unlike any other.

Category

Non-fiction

Genre

Memoir

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


Many Hands Make Light Work is an interesting memoir that presents the life of a family of nine children whose parents believed that with all hands on deck, there wasn’t anything they couldn’t accomplish. No business idea was too adventurous or out of reach. The adventurous spirit of this family led their parents to pass unto their children many skills that eventually played out nicely in their personal lives. Aside their amiable attitude toward hard work, the courage to open up their household to many college students over many years whom they’d never met, across the spectrum of cultures, is breathtaking. Not only did they earn money from this, but the students gained so much from this family’s culture.

Looking at the world at large today, it’s quite understandable why McCarthy would write a memoir about her family, because a story like this untold by the one who lived it, would appear unbelievable placed alongside today’s culture. The gift of this story offers an organic history of family and hard work that would cause a reader to pause and wonder about their attitude toward life, and what they pass on to others. McCarthy’s will to offer this story is an act of bravery that would benefit anyone who wonders about the importance of choosing principles of family and hard work that served many families well, financially and otherwise, while preparing such families positively for an inevitable future.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to JKS Communications for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Author


Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy and her eight siblings grew up with a paintbrush in their hands and a song in their hearts. As soon as they were old enough to wrench a nail out of ancient lumber―so it could be used again―they were put to work renovating old houses in Ames, Iowa. Cheryl’s growing-up years included babysitting for a local family that kept a lion as a pet. A real, adolescent-aged lion. Uncaged. Using a flyswatter to defend herself, she survived the lion, and today is a freelance journalist for The Wall Street Journal as well as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The Tribune distributes her articles to newspapers and websites around the country, such as The Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sentinel. Her previous book, USA to the UK: The Easy Way, a lighthearted look at moving overseas, was published by British Petroleum’s London headquarters for an international readership. McCarthy holds an MBA from City University in London and a bachelor’s in journalism from Iowa State University. She lives with her husband in Bellingham, Washington. Read her exclusive TBAP interview here.