THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN SOONER: Personal Discoveries of a Mother of Twelve by Jaroldeen Edwards

THINGS I WISH I'D KNOWN SOONER: Personal Discoveries of a Mother of Twelve

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is rice pudding for the soul--a bland collection of essays on life's little lessons. If Edwards is to be held in awe for bearing and raising a dozen children while also producing half a dozen novels (A Woman Between, not reviewed, etc.), she also has to be faulted for passing along so little accumulated wisdom. The classic Cheaper by the Dozen, or even Jean KerFs Please Don't Eat the Daisies, offers much more in the way of tribal insight, comedic as they were. Edwards's anecdotes are drawn from her own life, but she has formatted them in the way of a Bible lesson, each chapter beginning with the thought for the day, a pithy quote from such philosophers as Shakespeare, Robert Browning, and Saint-Exupâry (""Grown-ups never understand themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always . . . explaining things to them,"" from The Little Prince). Next are stories about personal ""epiphanies,"" often focused on the role of woman as helpmate, mother, and homemaker, worthy subjects if they didn't somehow come out sounding so self-congratulatory here. Each chapter ends with an often banal lesson of the day: ""Let your children see you sitting down . . . . You are much more approachable that way."" True, epiphanies, ""those windows of light,"" as she calls them, are where you find them and need not involve heavenly light on the road to Damascus. However, in the title chapter, for instance, the author seems to have confused epiphanies with household hints. Among the ""windows of light"" offered here: Use a credit card sparingly, have the right clothes for the right occasions, buy all white bed linens and towels to minimize sorting. ""A simple flower can unlock the secrets of the universe,"" muses Edwards, but this trite volume is short on both blooms and revelation.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Pocket