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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Craft Star by Marisha Manning is a unique memoir of one woman’s struggle to create a successful handicraft business. Compiled from a manuscript and mementos discovered by her daughter, Marisa’s story begins with memories of her father’s illness. This is followed by a touching tribute to “Nammie” written by her granddaughter. Marisha’s narrative takes over again and recalls two marriages, unfortunately ending in divorce. In 1981 she started her own craft business. Previously, Marisha had been working at Firestone, and she enjoyed travel. Marisha began sharing a shop with other crafters. Eventually, she bought a trailer and commenced making the rounds of the markets around the country. The book follows her successes and misfortunes, concluding with partial retirement. It is also illustrated with the occasional photograph.
Craft Star by Marisha Manning is an interesting collection of journal entries, letters, and media reports. I really like the fact that it is refreshingly honest and recounts moments of hardship. I especially enjoyed Manning’s response to media assumptions that traveling crafters were vagrants who operated without licenses. Her assertions highlighted the fact that permits and insurances are required for everything nowadays; consequently, even market stalls are subject to regulations and taxes! Marisha’s account of her business setbacks and hardships combine humor and drama. I was shocked to read of the theft of a major delivery, and amused by the incident with the motor home septic! Craft Star is a fascinating historical account, rendered all the more readable because it is the account of a home business, not a high fashion label.