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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.