Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane

Non-Fiction - Inspirational
176 Pages
Reviewed on 02/19/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

By journaling her way through life, Dianne Poston Owens has given us a serene picture of American small towns and rural South Carolina in Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane. In this collection of short essays, she makes us laugh, think, and even strikes our nerves; what happens to any reader who feels a strong connection to what they read. Her writings are an amusing array of personal philosophies, photographs, and introspection. The ordinariness of life from where she gleans her musings gives us a good lens on fascinating ideas that can crop up from anywhere and anything. She finds the need for linguistic accuracy in admonishing her daughters, and in short, almost haiku-like poetry, she acknowledges a snail leaving its slimy trail on the sand as an indication of a slow but well-traveled life.

Dianne Poston Owens’s terse essays reflect her freedom to give life meaning in whatever way she sees fit. To her, ordinary things are sources of appreciation and life education. Not everyone is invested in examining the little things. Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane may well be her paean to the purity of life’s comprehensible truths. Ms. Owens affirms the richness of the ordinary, but her writing also has that tinge of spirituality despite focusing on somatic preoccupations. Her anthology possesses feel-good qualities grounded in the commonplace that reflect who or what we are. More than anything else, it is Ms. Owens’s lineage from a long line of chroniclers that gives this book resonance. In celebrating the ordinary, this book stands out.

K.C. Finn

Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane is a work of non-fiction that focuses on human social culture, our similarities and differences in the world of communication, and was penned by author Dianne Poston Owens. Told in the form of short essays, which total 49 for this theme, these stories and observations all come from the author’s unique perspective, calling on Southern culture, humor, and wit alongside a strong connection to nature. What results is a charming look at how we choose to connect as human beings with one another and the situations that we find ourselves in because of how we are shaped.

Author Dianne Poston Owens has a confident journalistic prowess that gives her essays the professional level of quality that they need for a collection of this kind. The real talent, then, is in the way that Owens draws readers into her world and combines that professionalism with a realistic and heartfelt narrative that makes anyone feel welcome to share her stories and her world. The essays contain narrative moments that truly sweep you away into Owens’s home and the gatherings of people all around her, and her observations are sharp, witty and delightful. The essays change nicely through their organization, covering some lighter and more humorous situations, but also making poignant and relatable points about human connection that strike a deep chord in readers’ hearts. Overall, Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane is a highly recommended read for fans of insightful and close-to-home journalistic writing.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Even the simplest things that happen in life have the potential of great meaning, great significance. Like sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, quietly listening to the world around. Or, transcribing someone else’s stories. Or reminiscing a special person. Then there are the collected and inherited treasures: old bottles, boxes of memorabilia, a cracked mirror, an old scrapbook. There are stories all around us: stories to share, lessons to learn and memories to preserve.

Dianne Poston Owens’s collection of stories, Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane, is a compassionate look at a life well-lived. Hers isn’t a life of fame and fortune, or political achievements for that matter. But hers is a full life, one she shares with others and one which includes remarkable stories of those around her. Each story is a memoir, a memory of a person, a thing, a place or an event. The memories are simple; mere acts of living. However, the stories are heartfelt and share a remarkable insight into the world of simply living. Accompanied by intriguing black-and-white photos of places, things, and people, and challenging questions to make us think (or re-think) our own profound existence, these stories are told with gentleness and a sense of caring that is soul-searching.

Dianne Poston Owens includes her wit and sense of humor, compelling us to look into the humor within our own lives. We can learn from the stories in Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane. We can come to an understanding of the world around us. Life is simple: we are born, we live, we die. And in between, we gather; we are a community of commitments and fascinating activities. Life is, quite simply, a gathering. Thank you for sharing your stories, Dianne.