Books by Daryl Ott Underhill

Released: May 3, 1999

An often tiresome, rarely inspiring collection of first-person narratives by women, touching on everything from the joys of motherhood to the contentment of independent living. There is little new or creatively said in Underhill's anthology (she is president of her own marketing and consulting firm, specializing in women's programs and product promotions), which resulted from a general request for stories written by women about life's stages and phases. Most of the contributions, culled from a total response of 500, are marred by a triteness and a mawkishness that dull even those stories worth telling. The lackluster prose is too often peppered with clichés like "More times than not, what seems like a bad change will open a whole new door of wonderful experiences and opportunities. We must keep in mind that past experiences will have positive effects if we let them." The few refreshing voices belong to women who have questioned the status quo, who challenge and provoke. In "Fighting Discrimination With Dignity," Pastor Paula E. Buford writes about her experience speaking at an all-male Southern Baptist pastors" conference in 1984. When asked by an elderly pastor, "As a woman, how will you keep from being seen as a sex object in the pulpit?" she decorously replies, "I—m not sure that I can. Tell me, how do you deal with this issue? I—d like to learn from you." Also more remarkable than yet another account of a woman facing middle age is Marlynn Peron's essay on discovering that her son is gay. After the initial shock and sorrow, Peron decides not only to offer her son the unconditional love she feels he deserves, but additionally urges other mothers of gay children to openly stand up for them. Homosexuality is genetic, Peron argues, and parents must ease a child's pain and shame. The more typical voice here is better expressed in soap-opera scripts. (First serial to Woman's Day) Read full book review >