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Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime Hardcover – May 7, 2013


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Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime + I'm Just Saying + Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401324878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401324872
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Uplifting" - Oprah's O Magazine

"A delicious diversion...Sarah Smiley is all heart...Many people will see her as a hero for being so frank" - USA Today

"A meal-time revolution" - The Today Show

"[DINNER WITH THE SMILEYS] will make you a better person for reading it...By the close, you'll be begging for seconds."- SheKnows.com

"Classic Sarah: forthright and honest, funny and smart." - The New York Times

"A rare, unvarnished glimpse into the life of an American family...a compassionate account of absolutely inspired by-the-seat-of-the-pants parenting." - Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This


"Sarah Smiley writes in such a very intimate and frank style that the reader feels like a fly on the wall...Her humor is quiet and wry, and at times she is painfully honest." - BookReporter.com

"It is both a joy and an inspiration...If you ever doubted the basic goodness of Americans, this book will restore your faith." - Sue Halpern, author of A DOG WALKS INTO A NURSING HOME

"[The] stories range from heartbreaking to hilarious." - Maine Magazine

"Dinner with the Smileys will make you laugh and cry...Sarah Smiley's engaging writing both entertains and educates." - U.S. Senator Susan Collins


- One of Oprah's five "Things to Smile About"

- Number 9 on USA Today's list of Books to Read in May

- GoodHousekeeping New Book Pick


Praise for Smiley: 

"...often funny and always humane, an unexpected voice" - New York Times Magazine

"...an Erma Bombeck...[Smiley's] prose is simple and straightforward, and her humor is clever." - Publishers Weekly

"You can't help but be moved" - Carol Leifer, writer for Seinfeld

"Smiley has the knack of turning the ordinary, and not-so-ordinary travails into an absorbing narrative." - Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post 

"Endearing and descriptive writing that brings both laughs and tears." - The Bradenton Herald

About the Author

Sarah Smiley is the author of a syndicated newspaper column that is published in cities across the country, the memoir Going Overboard (Penguin/New American Library, 2005) and a collection of essays titled I'm Just Saying... (Ballinger, 2008). Described as an "Erma Bombeck" by Publishers Weekly, Sarah is best known for her honest and witty accounts of raising three boys. Sarah has been a Navy dependent for more than 36 years, first as the daughter of Rear Admiral Lindell Rutherford (USN, Ret.), and now as the wife of Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, a Navy pilot. She has a B.S. in Education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Maine.

More About the Author

"an unexpected voice" - The New York Times
"an Erma Bombeck" - Publishers Weekly
"uplifting" - Oprah's O Magazine
"all heart" - USA Today

Sarah Smiley is the author of a syndicated newspaper column that is published in cities across the country, the memoirs DINNER WITH THE SMILEYS (Hyperion, 2013) and GOING OVERBOARD (Penguin/New American Library, 2005), and a collection of essays titled I'M JUST SAYING... (Ballinger, 2008).

Described as an "Erma Bombeck" by Publishers Weekly, Sarah is best known for her honest and witty accounts of raising three boys. She has been featured on the TODAY Show, KATIE COURICs talkshow, Fox & Friends, Nightline, CBS, MSNBC, and CNN. Her work has been featured in Parade Magazine, Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, The New York Times, and many other publications.

Sarah has been a Navy dependent for more than 36 years, first as the daughter of Rear Admiral Lindell Rutherford (USN, Ret.), and now as the wife of Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, a Navy pilot. She has a B.S. in Education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Maine.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 157 customer reviews
This is such an incredible and touching story.
Reedmom3
It is another great book by Sarah Smiley and a testament to the strength of the modern military family.
Vegs
You'll feel like you're a guest at the Smiley's dinner table.
Kathleen G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Reedmom3 on May 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is such an incredible and touching story. It speaks to the relationship between a mom and her sons. It's beyond filling a seat at dinner, it's about relationships and lessons for a lifetime. You will laugh, shed a tear and feel like you're part of this very special family and the adventures that surely changed their lives forever.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Tyler on May 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read most of the night! I could blame the author for being so short on sleep today, but in truth, I enjoyed the book too much to do so!

I am not part of a military family, so in the beginning I worried that I wouldn't be able to relate to the author's tale. Instead I found the author's story to be one of the most relatable books I've read all year. It's not about the dinners, although they are the basis for the structure of the book, rather it's about the relationship between a mom and her sons, a wife and her husband, and a family and their community. Those connections are what makes this book so very special.

When you read as much as I do, it's always a pleasure to find a book this easy-to-read, thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny. I would encourage anyone looking for a good read to take Sarah's story to heart. And then, if you are like me, invite someone new to dinner.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Soofriver on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is not about the food served. It is not about fancy china or linen napkins. It is not about a super-mom or perfect children. But it is about a "real" family coping in such a positive and creative way. You do not have to be a military spouse to enjoy this book. It is a story that reminds us all of the importance of neighbors and community and reaching out to others. And by doing so, your own loneliness is alleviated. It is a story of a mother's love for her sons and the lessons she offers them through the 52 dinners. And lastly, it is a story of love and commitment that endures no matter how many miles separate them. I enjoyed it!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By anniegurl on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought that this was a great story and an even greater concept. I had read previous books by the author and previous reviews and felt that the author was unfairly "dissed" by other military wives. I think that even among the community of military spouses and families, there is a dividing line between those who spend a career deployed and those who are only deployed in times of war and conflict. My grandmother was the spouse of a Submariner who spent six months of nearly every year of their marriage deployed. That is what Gram signed up for...and 5 of the six months that he was not at sea, he was preparing to be so. There were also the late night calls..."be at lower base at 0:300 and be prepared to be gone for a while". Gramp was very literally a guest in his own home when he was stateside, Gram ruled the roost and made all household purchases and decisions. She was in many ways, a single mother and she did it well; but she was very aware of the role that she had signed up for. My heart goes out to all of those who did not expect 10 years of near steady deployments and for those who chose to go IA. I do not know what Justin's deal was, but here in my community, one year IA in a war zone equates to three years in service. For those nearing retirement 3 for 1 is a deal that many cannot and will not pass up. Sarah made the best of the year and her boys learned lessons that will last them a lifetime. When they leave the comfort of home and go out into the "real world" those lessons learned will serve them well. A wonderful story and a wonderful learning experience for all who participated, Fair winds and following seas, Smiley family and Sarah...Bravo Zulu from New London!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John B. Bruneel on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am fortunate to live in the same Maine city as Sarah Smiley and her family. Soon after moving here her weekly column started appearing in our local newspaper. I came to enjoy her column and looked forward to reading it each week.

Over the course of her husband's year-long deployment an occasional column would talk about the weekly dinners with the Smileys. These dinners and columns would lead to her book "Dinners with the Smileys" I looked forward to its publication and as soon as it became available on Kindle, I purchased it and set about reading it.

Ms Smiley is a gifted writer and the book takes us through a year of family dinners with persons both famous and not quite so famous. From the boy's teachers to the Governor of the state of Maine. From college hockey players to one of Maine's U.S. Senators.

The dinners themselves are entertaining, sometimes raucous, sometimes quite reflective. But this book is about so much more than those dinners. At its base is family. Not only the Smiley family, although in itself that would be a good read. It is also about the (extended) military family and its uniqueness in our society. But, as important as these are, it is the family we know as community that stands out in Ms Smiley's writings. Church, school, youth sports and neighbors are all a part of that family and were the willing surrogates for Dustin during his deployment.

This book will have you laughing at times, crying at times, but will entertain you throughout.

Dustin, Sarah, Ford, Owen & Lindell - I thank all of you for your service and your sacrifice.

Lindell - I thank you for one of the best chuckles I have had in years - we are kindred spirits.
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