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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite
Iva Mae: The Book Of Mom by Robin Anne Griffiths is a non-fiction memoir written by Robin on the memories and reminiscences of her mother, Iva Mae. Iva Mae starts off with an introduction by Robin on how she started piecing together Iva Mae’s life while going through her personal items and felt that this is a story that needed to be told. Iva Mae was the youngest of several children in the early part of the twentieth century. She spent her childhood on a farm in Labette County, Kansas and the book describes her childhood with her siblings, the various chores and tasks around the farm along with the fun and entertainment of those days, her parents and how she never knew her mother really well because of the late pregnancy and subsequent sickness, her later relationships with men and marriages and divorce, living through turbulent times such as the Great Depression, etc., her subsequent travels far and wide away from Kansas and her roots, and much more. There is a lot of family history and family relationships explored in this book besides the life of Iva Mae herself.
Iva Mae is an interesting memoir that details the rural life of white settlers in America in the early decades of the last century. I enjoyed reading about the simplicity of life back then when relationships with people and large families were the norm. The farm chores, the large amounts of cooking, and the sheer amount of work that women did on farms is a big change from today’s modern life and so I liked reading that from a woman’s perspective. At times, especially in the beginning, the narrative was a bit confusing for me because the narrative and voice alternate between Robin and Iva Mae. But once I got used to it, it was easier to follow. Overall, the content and subject matter of this book make this a memoir worth reading!