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My (not so) Storybook Life: A Tale of Friendship and Faith Hardcover – Oct 18 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Skirt! (Oct. 18 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076277357X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762773572
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,561,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


You owe it to yourself to sit for a spell with Elizabeth Owen’s frank, funny, and thoroughly unforgettable memoir. (Deborah Ford, author of The GRITS Guide to Life and Bless His Heart)

This book totally makes me want to hang out with Elizabeth Owen and eat her terrible cookies. (Elizabeth Beckwith, author of Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation)

Owen takes us on a hilarious, heart-wrenching and decidedly modernized literary journey through the joys and woes of homeownership, marriage and friendship. You’ll love as she cleverly juxtaposes your favorite literary giants from days of yore with modern-life experiences. Owen is everywoman through the ages. Anne (of Green Gables) would be proud. (Jenny Gardiner, author of Sleeping with Ward Cleaver and Slim to None)

Heart-touchingly sweet and tender as any powerful story of friendship and faith should be. (Ronda Rich, author of What Southern Women Know about Faith and What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should))

From the Inside Flap

Fresh, funny, and poignant, My (not so) Storybook Life is old-fashioned humor mashed with literary spoofery. Elizabeth thinks of herself and her husband, Matt, as a modern-day Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Together they’ve endured paint-color mishaps, sewage disasters, pest infestations, and a schnauzer that poops at tornado sirens. It’s hardly the domestic perfection a young Liz imagined while reading Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice. Could it be that these literary stalwarts had led her astray?

Liz tells the story of her own path to happiness, along the way seeking revenge on her literary heroes: Jo March has to cope with a soul-sucking job, Elizabeth Bennett shepherds a Duggar-size brood of kids, and Anne Shirley deals with a penny-pinching husband. But every comedy is balanced by tragedy. Angela was one of Liz’s closest friends, a kindred spirit who at age thirty-one was diagnosed with cancer. Before Angela, Liz was discontened. But it was the journey she took with this friend that made her realize that her house and its decorations and plumbing and dirty-clothes-covered Man Cave were not burdens to be tweaked and perfected, but blessings to be thankful for.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3fb04c8) out of 5 stars 37 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ef4f78) out of 5 stars Hilarious and Heart-Wrenching Memoir with a Creative Twist Nov. 5 2011
By E. B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Last month I received with eager hands a book I had preordered by a lovely woman and fellow blogger [...] Liz Owen. "My (not so) Storybook Life" is part memoir, part fiction, part satire, and completely worth the $20 spent on it. Through it's hilarious and heart-wrenching pages, Liz introduces us to her slightly twisted mind, her completely twisted dog, and a beautiful, all-too-short friendship with an amazing young woman named Angela.

Each chapter begins with Liz's own inspired rewriting of our favorite stories. Anne and Gilbert, Rhett and Scarlett, Catherine and Heathcliff . . . no one is safe as Liz plunges the storybook characters that shaped her perceptions about life, love, and proper housing into the nitty gritty of real-life home ownership. Then she tells amusing and sometimes laugh-out-loud stories about her own experience as a newlywed first-time home (and schnauzer) buyer. And throughout the whole book we see the development of a strong friendship that only God could have orchestrated.

As I read, I marveled at the similarities between Liz and me. Roofing catastrophes, an unhealthy obsession with getting the right paint colors, husbands who sometimes talk in their sleep, a desire to write, and a love of literature that shaped our expectations of life to be perhaps just a smidge too high. And though the trajectory of the story moves ever closer to sadness as Liz deals with the impending loss of a dear friend to cancer, it does not get bogged down in sentimentality or emotional manipulation. In fact, the funniest chapter (at least, the one I laughed loudest at) is 12th of 14. I can't resist giving you a little taste of it here. The context is poor Liz finding out that her husband Matt does more than just talk in his sleep sometimes.

"My first encounter with "sleeping with the enemy" happened several months later. I awoke suddenly in the middle of the night, one eye wide and unblinking into the darkness of our bedroom. But after a few moments of complete confusion and disorientation, I realized my right eye was wide and unblinking because Matt was leaning over me, peeling my eyelid back with his finger, his other finger poking my eyeball like a demented ophthalmologist.

"I screamed. And then I punched him in the jaw."

This goes on for another page and other amusing nocturnal tortures follow. And Liz divulges them with a good dose of humor tempered with righteous indignation. But at the same time, this is the darkest chapter as well as we see Angela deteriorating and Liz questioning the meaning of all of it. It is the finest example of Liz's enviable ability to walk the fine line between comedy and tragedy. As our lives are made up of both, often occurring at nearly the same time, so Liz allows her own story to be a tense mingling of joy and sorrow.

Anyone who has a deep love for literature, who has had the horrifying thrill of buying a home, who has had a friendship that changed her life, who has lost someone to cancer, or who loves the memoir genre (as I do) would enjoy "My (not so) Storybook Life." I hope someday I randomly run into Liz. She is truly a wonderful writer and a sweet person.

Buy the book. Read her blog. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e731e0) out of 5 stars My (not so) Storybook Life Dec 2 2011
By Cheree - Published on
Format: Hardcover
My (not so) Storybook Life by Elizabeth Owen is broken into 14 chapters that take us into the world of marital bliss {that prove to not always be so blissful, as is often the case}. The book also shares Liz's personal journey of the loss of a friend to cancer. While Liz could have chosen to run away from her problems or write her story in a cynical way, she chooses instead to be grateful for all of the moments that make up her life, even when things don't turn out the way she thinks they should.

One unexpected twist in this book is Liz's introduction to each chapter. She takes literary characters that we grew up with and weaves modern-day scenarios of what those characters would be up to in their ever after {the parts that don't always go so happily}. If you are a lover of literature and are curious about what Anne and Gilbert; Scarlett and Rhett; Marianne and Colonel Brandon or the March Sisters are up, you cannot miss out on this book. Just be prepared to both laugh and cry.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e73420) out of 5 stars Fantastic and Laugh out Loud funny! Nov. 20 2011
By Carole L White - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a great fist book by Liz Owen. I loved every page, every tale. I identified with her woes of getting adult life started in this crazy world and I appreciated her rawness in the details. I literally found myself laughing out loud and I look forward to any other publications in the future.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e73780) out of 5 stars My kind of storybook. Dec 6 2011
By Susan B. Dunning - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Like Elizabeth Owen, I am a wife, mother, avid reader, and office drone. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I haven't read her entire book. But what I have read was brilliant, relate-able, and so funny! Not funny in that overly polished, she's been rehearsing this schtick for years way, but funny in the best, that's who she is kind of way. And if the rest of her book is anything like her blog, which I read regularly, I'm going to love it, I'm sure.

This quote from her own Prologue is my favorite thing about Elizabeth:

"Heroic rescues are not the sole property of Hollywood. You find them in literature... I love what [these moments] represent... Where something awful and ominous could have been, something positive thunders through the gloom and catastrophe."

She reminds me that, even if it doesn't come naturally to her or me, we must keep looking for the something positive in every roof leak, pest infestation, dog poop, diaper blow-out, mysterious illness, etc. Because that something positive? It's there. If you look for it. There is perfection in imperfection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e7399c) out of 5 stars I think she's secretly Canadian! Dec 3 2011
By williamGEORGE - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I believe that you don't get a love for Anne of Green Gables like this unless you are Canadian. Owen's book is refreshing in the time when women in their 30's are expected to be everything to everyone.

Weaving her own trials, sucesses and heartbreaking loses with the witty "what if" of classic characters we all know and love, in a modern setting which makes everything a bit more interesting.

She is real, she is lovely and she knows how to write. By the end of the book you feel as if you know her, she could live down the street from you and would be friens in a way most modern authors don't portray. Matt could be any husband, Mabel could be any dog, but along with Liz they are a treasure to be cherished. This is a book that will get lots of wear, being passed from friend to friend, with dog eared corners and a book jacket that will not look pretty, but it will be read, and loved and read again.