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About My Mother... True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother

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There’s a Thelma Knobel in everyone’s life. She’s the person taking charge– the one who knows instinctively how things should be. Today, Thelma would be described as an alpha personality. But while growing up, her daughter, Peggy, saw her as a dictator– albeit a benevolent, loving one. They clashed from the beginning– Peggy, the horse-crazy tomboy, and Thelma, a genteel co There’s a Thelma Knobel in everyone’s life. She’s the person taking charge– the one who knows instinctively how things should be. Today, Thelma would be described as an alpha personality. But while growing up, her daughter, Peggy, saw her as a dictator– albeit a benevolent, loving one. They clashed from the beginning– Peggy, the horse-crazy tomboy, and Thelma, a genteel controlling mother, committed to raising two refined, ladylike daughters. When major league baseball came to town in the early 1950s and turned sophisticated Thelma into a crazed Baltimore Orioles groupie, nobody was more surprised and embarrassed than Peggy. Life became a series of compromises– Thelma tolerating a daughter who pitched manure and galloped the countryside, while Peggy learned to tolerate the whacky Orioles fan who threw her underwear at the TV, shouted insults at umpires, and lived by the orange and black schedule taped to the refrigerator door…


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There’s a Thelma Knobel in everyone’s life. She’s the person taking charge– the one who knows instinctively how things should be. Today, Thelma would be described as an alpha personality. But while growing up, her daughter, Peggy, saw her as a dictator– albeit a benevolent, loving one. They clashed from the beginning– Peggy, the horse-crazy tomboy, and Thelma, a genteel co There’s a Thelma Knobel in everyone’s life. She’s the person taking charge– the one who knows instinctively how things should be. Today, Thelma would be described as an alpha personality. But while growing up, her daughter, Peggy, saw her as a dictator– albeit a benevolent, loving one. They clashed from the beginning– Peggy, the horse-crazy tomboy, and Thelma, a genteel controlling mother, committed to raising two refined, ladylike daughters. When major league baseball came to town in the early 1950s and turned sophisticated Thelma into a crazed Baltimore Orioles groupie, nobody was more surprised and embarrassed than Peggy. Life became a series of compromises– Thelma tolerating a daughter who pitched manure and galloped the countryside, while Peggy learned to tolerate the whacky Orioles fan who threw her underwear at the TV, shouted insults at umpires, and lived by the orange and black schedule taped to the refrigerator door…

30 review for About My Mother... True Stories of a Horse-Crazy Daughter and Her Baseball-Obsessed Mother

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This came in the mail this afternoon and I've already finished it. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm and laugh out loud stories of a tight knit family, much like my own. Give this a read, I bet you'll love it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Wills Adams

    Peggy Rowe is an engaging story teller who draws you in from page 1. Reading about her mother and her family life in Baltimore was a joy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Charming, but not as funny as the story about the blue purse lost at WalMart.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Now I know where Mike Rowe gets his talent... Straight from Mama Rowe!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Such a lovely collection of sweet, entertaining stories! I genuinely enjoyed them! Mrs. Rowe has a true gift as her writing comes across as though it were done effortlessly. I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I wish I had a more extensive vocabulary that I could dazzle you with words indicating love and humor. This is my book pick of the year, a non-fiction (which I rarely read) collection of short stories that I adored. Peggy Rowe has a blog on Facebook called About My Mother that is about her life and stories of her children growing up. This book is about Peggy telling us stories about her life as a child and her wonderful loving mother. I never have laughed so often or so hard reading a book. I'm I wish I had a more extensive vocabulary that I could dazzle you with words indicating love and humor. This is my book pick of the year, a non-fiction (which I rarely read) collection of short stories that I adored. Peggy Rowe has a blog on Facebook called About My Mother that is about her life and stories of her children growing up. This book is about Peggy telling us stories about her life as a child and her wonderful loving mother. I never have laughed so often or so hard reading a book. I'm not sure if it's because I grew up in the same decades or if this book seemed so normal to me. Kids today would never get some of the humor. Pretending the grape arbor is a horse or Peggy and her mother driving across country without a man. (oh my). If you buy books for Christmas gifts, and you can find a copy, give this to everyone you know. Also if you're on Facebook, look up About my Mother for your daily morning laugh. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fen

    I've been following Mike Rowe for ages on Facebook and have always enjoyed the letters and emails he reads from his mother... so of course I had to order this book when I had the chance. It's just as charming, funny and touching as her notes to Mike have always been and I'm really hoping she decides to pull together another book, soon!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angie Wolf

    Endearing and funny. A sweet read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    De Vonna Stephens

    Super cute, funny and well written

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Wonderful stories I enjoyed every story in this book. I had much the same childhood except for the baseball. Saturday’s were for cleaning - dusting, mopping, washing clothes, drying them on the line and then ironing. Books, not horses, were my obsession but love was expressed in actions rather than words. Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Peggy Rowe, the mother of Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe has written a wonderful, humorous, and at times very emotional memoir of her growing up with a baseball obsessed mother. I loved it and can’t recommend it high enough. She will hopefully write more books. #Aboutmymother. #PeggyRowe

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Peggy Rowe’s long-awaited book is everything I hoped it would be, and more. She is a wonderful storyteller, and these stories about her family, focusing primarily on her relationship with her firecracker mom Thelma, are endearing, funny, and relatable. Every woman who grew up with her mom in her life understands that we have our ups and downs with each other, and Peggy and Thelma’s relationship is no different. Where Thelma ran a tight ship where laundry was washed every Monday, Peggy sought mor Peggy Rowe’s long-awaited book is everything I hoped it would be, and more. She is a wonderful storyteller, and these stories about her family, focusing primarily on her relationship with her firecracker mom Thelma, are endearing, funny, and relatable. Every woman who grew up with her mom in her life understands that we have our ups and downs with each other, and Peggy and Thelma’s relationship is no different. Where Thelma ran a tight ship where laundry was washed every Monday, Peggy sought more leisure and preferred the company of horses and the aroma of hay and saddle leather. While Thelma made sure her family was polished and dressed properly for church every Sunday, Peggy snuck out of the church’s back door during a sleepy service and treated herself to a chocolate bar from the dime store around the corner. These stories reminded me of my own mom and our many squabbles and laughs, especially when I was an angsty Goth teenager, and also of the stories my grandma has told me about my two aunts on my dad’s side. I absolutely adored this book from start to finish, and I encourage everyone to read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    What a delightful collection of stories about family, when life was so very different than today. Love.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gwen Shapiro

    I enjoyed the laugh out loud humor from Mrs. Rowe Mrs. Rowe has written a book with the same dry humor as her post on Mike Rowe’s FB page about the Old Blue purse. Her memories of life with her mom have an evocative look into life growing up in the 50’s and 60’s if you have a loving, stable home with a strong parent figure. Many times I laughed out loud at the author’s memory of Mom #1 and Mom #2. I am pretty sure I know where Mike Rowe got his sense of humor. All together, sweet and feel good fu I enjoyed the laugh out loud humor from Mrs. Rowe Mrs. Rowe has written a book with the same dry humor as her post on Mike Rowe’s FB page about the Old Blue purse. Her memories of life with her mom have an evocative look into life growing up in the 50’s and 60’s if you have a loving, stable home with a strong parent figure. Many times I laughed out loud at the author’s memory of Mom #1 and Mom #2. I am pretty sure I know where Mike Rowe got his sense of humor. All together, sweet and feel good funny, with a happy ending.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    Peggy Rowe's stories about her relationship with her mother are funny and heartwarming. I really enjoyed the book. I found myself laughing out loud and sometimes shedding a tear or two. It's a great read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrea L Smith

    Wonderful! I have always found Mike Rowe to be interesting and intelligent. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. These are delightful stories about embracing your children for who they are. Loved it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is hands down the funniest book I've read. I bought it for my mom for Christmas and read it before her. I had to stifle my laughter so she would not ask me what was so funny! I'd recommend this memoir to anyone. Reading this you realize who Mike can thank for his sense of wit.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Learn

    I chewed through this book; the stories were very entertaining. Originally purchased because of the plugs from MIke Rowe thinking he is someone whose views i respect and I am happy to help out he and his family because of what i know he stands for. Turns out I am glad that I made the purchase and it offered up enjoyment worth the price. Would happily recommend this book to someone looking for a light and enjoyable book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JeanMarieT

    Loved It! Peggy Rowe told the story of her mother as seen though a daughter’s eye. In the telling, not only do we learn of her mother, but also of Peggy herself. This is an enjoyable, sweet read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gina Wells

    I didn't want it to end. So well written and so heart-warming. In a world where there is so much pain and division, this book reminded me that there is comfort in the day to day. Peggy's writing is so lovely. And now I am going to call my mom :).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rita McDowell

    Heartwarming! Basically read this wonderful book in one sitting! Way to good to put down for very long! Wonderful and heartwarming story that reminded me of great memories of my Great Grandmother (who scared me as a little girl) who was no nonsense, my Grandmother who was extremely laid back and easy going and very quick to cause an uproar at times. and my mother who was a combination of them depending on the situation! Thank you for a wonderful and entertaining read and a great trip down memory Heartwarming! Basically read this wonderful book in one sitting! Way to good to put down for very long! Wonderful and heartwarming story that reminded me of great memories of my Great Grandmother (who scared me as a little girl) who was no nonsense, my Grandmother who was extremely laid back and easy going and very quick to cause an uproar at times. and my mother who was a combination of them depending on the situation! Thank you for a wonderful and entertaining read and a great trip down memory lane! God Bless! Please.keep writing!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Fryer

    A great read! A beautifully written, humorous look at our personal histories and how we grow from our experiences. Thanks for a great read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    I loved this collection of family memories about Peggy and her mother, Thelma. The chronological essays are hilarious, moving, and insightful. Peggy, a retired teacher, has packaged a book full of love. I connected with these stories on so many levels - lover of horses (but I was never given the opportunity to have one), having a mother who was passionate about what a neat and tidy home should look like, Mom's pot roast with brown gravy, and a Mom that sometimes embarrassed! (That story takes pl I loved this collection of family memories about Peggy and her mother, Thelma. The chronological essays are hilarious, moving, and insightful. Peggy, a retired teacher, has packaged a book full of love. I connected with these stories on so many levels - lover of horses (but I was never given the opportunity to have one), having a mother who was passionate about what a neat and tidy home should look like, Mom's pot roast with brown gravy, and a Mom that sometimes embarrassed! (That story takes place at a Fireman's Picnic in Mammoth Lakes, California one July 4th and involves my Mother, (approximatly 44 at the time) a couple of beers (she wasn't a drinker), a pie eating contest, a climb the greased pole contest, a three legged race and a very surprised greased pig.) Thank you, Peggy, for the walk down your memory lane, and mine.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Walker

    Took Peggy's book with me to read on the flight to Cabos San Lucas. I laughed out loud when her father finally realized it was time to get her a horse! I can certainly relate! As my mom can see me going down the same path. She knew it was time to give in when I sat her down and said, It's either boys or a horse. Without missing a beat, mom asked, "What color horse would you like?" She knew I was going to be either boy crazy or horse crazy! So from the age of 13 to 34, horses were my life! I tho Took Peggy's book with me to read on the flight to Cabos San Lucas. I laughed out loud when her father finally realized it was time to get her a horse! I can certainly relate! As my mom can see me going down the same path. She knew it was time to give in when I sat her down and said, It's either boys or a horse. Without missing a beat, mom asked, "What color horse would you like?" She knew I was going to be either boy crazy or horse crazy! So from the age of 13 to 34, horses were my life! I thoroughly enjoyed Peggy's stories about her life. This book is well crafted and one story blended to the next. I like how she included dialog between her and Mike. When she was quoting Mike, I couldn't help but to re-read it with Mike's booming voice in mind. I highly recommend this book to all. It's a great read. I am proud to be one of Mike's "Little Facebook Fans".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nae

    An absolutely wonderful, laugh out loud, story of Mike Rowe's mother's relationship with he mother. In the forward to the book he writes the if he had to describe the book it would be as a "comforting" read ... I found it to be so much more on so many levels. If you ever read Erma Bombeck and miss her writings, this one will fill the void quite nicely. I have always loved Mike's way with spoken and written words, once you read this book it will be easy to see where his gift of "really telling" a An absolutely wonderful, laugh out loud, story of Mike Rowe's mother's relationship with he mother. In the forward to the book he writes the if he had to describe the book it would be as a "comforting" read ... I found it to be so much more on so many levels. If you ever read Erma Bombeck and miss her writings, this one will fill the void quite nicely. I have always loved Mike's way with spoken and written words, once you read this book it will be easy to see where his gift of "really telling" a story came from.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul Black

    Growing up as a tomboy near Baltimore with a very neat and proper (except with regard to Orioles baseball) mother has got to lead to a lot of kooky stories. And it does! From wearing leather fringe jackets and cowboy boots to church to being the catalyst for Mom throwing the opening pitch at an Orioles game, Peggy Rowe tells the stories with a cheerful and flowing style. Maybe Mike Rowe's mother isn't the next Irma Bombeck, but I'm glad I bought the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim Padan

    Absolutely delightful collection of stories! I have been a fan of Mike Rowe for years, and have enjoyed "meeting" his mother through Facebook. Now, in this book, his mom shares memories of a very proper and loving grandmother. Story telling must be in the genes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    Love Mrs Rowe’s writing style and sense of humor. She understands timing and avoids being pedantic, as many “rookie” writers are prone to be. Hopefully she’ll continue to write!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly Caddell

    Loved it! Mrs. Rowe paints a wonderful picture so real thatvyou feel like you are right there with her. Watching her life unfold and just honored to be present in it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nranger7

    Hate to give this three stars as Peggy Rowe is really good at spinning funny, interesting stories. However, my problem is with the way the rest of the world views the relationship Peggy had with her mother. They call it cute and heartwarming! Her mother is a "firecracker" with an "alpha personality"! No. She's a full blown narcissist. Peggy's father was an enabler. And anyone who has had a narcissist for a mother is well aware of the deep lifelong emotional wounds it causes which were evident in Hate to give this three stars as Peggy Rowe is really good at spinning funny, interesting stories. However, my problem is with the way the rest of the world views the relationship Peggy had with her mother. They call it cute and heartwarming! Her mother is a "firecracker" with an "alpha personality"! No. She's a full blown narcissist. Peggy's father was an enabler. And anyone who has had a narcissist for a mother is well aware of the deep lifelong emotional wounds it causes which were evident in this book. I'm getting on my soapbox because my copy has book club discussion questions in the back asking how the readers feel about the characters and how the use of humor creates empathy and whatnot. Here we go. Narcissists do not have empathy and as such do not deserve any. I'm glad Peggy Rowe has had what seems like a happy life as an adult despite her mother's attempts to make her miserable. However, there's a lot of denial and excuses for her mother's behavior in this book which is downright painful. I get it. We live in a society that puts all mothers on pedestals no matter how horrible they are. Emotional abuse is excused by saying her mother loved her soooo much by being a meddling tyrant. (Um no that's not love.) It was heart wrenching to have Peggy state several times how her mother never hugged her because her family "just wasn't like that". I really want to give her a hug. We both were given crazy self-absorbed mothers we did not deserve. The problem with using humor to create empathy is it normalizes the abuse. Everybody Loves Raymond is written as a comedy. Ray Barone's narcissistic mother (right next door just like Thelma) is funny!! Not abusive! Chuck Lorre has talked about his horrible narcissistic mother. He creates comedies! His monstrous mother characters in all his shows are funny!! Not abusive! And now we have Thelma Knobel. Another mother who played favorites with her children (treating one as a golden child and the other as the scapegoat), cared more about putting on appearances in public than the wellbeing of her children, sabotaged her daughter's relationships, bullied her daughter for not knowing how to cook and clean instead of actually teaching her, and treated the successes of her daughters and grandsons as if they were all her own. Typical textbook narcissist. The only thing missing is her mother stealing money from her. Maybe that will be in the next edition spun as a funny story. The problem here is when a writer makes this abusive content funny, the audience actually thinks this is funny. Then you're the monster when you dare to say it's heartbreaking and cruel. Not funny. I gave this book three stars because of the content. It WAS well written. Some of it was truly funny. But self deprecating humor that comes from a lifetime of damage (especially childhood damage) is simply not funny to me. Children of narcissists are raised to believe that they're the problem. It's their fault they don't live up to the high unreasonable standards put upon them. That narrative was just as evident in this book as it is on any support group for children raised by parents with NPD. And I hate how the general audience is going to continue with the mindset that it's ok to excuse horrible mothers. There really is no excuse. People are usually supportive when someone breaks away from an abusive spouse/significant other. But have the audacity to break away from a toxic mother? For some reason that's unacceptable. But faaaaaamily! ugh This mindset needs to stop. Rant over. Hugs and more hugs for Peggy who is a really good writer and seems to have been an infinitely better mother to her sons than her mother ever was to her. I also want to hug her husband, John, for being such a great guy to Peggy and standing up to his mother in law's disrespectful, hurtful behavior. We need more people like him instead of enablers hiding behind excuses.

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