The Journey
by Gayleen Wentz

"We can’t change the times back to the way it was, but we can cherish those memories."

In this memoir of motherhood, Wentz captures the joys and heartaches of raising a family in a small town in West Virginia. Beginning with her marriage in 1960 and followed by the birth of three children, the book tracks the highlights with humor and charm as she offers up anecdotes and snapshots of her life through the years. The author writes about many of the milestones and typical experiences of families as children grow and change. Chapters on remodeling a house, childhood antics and minor accidents, family vacations, and pets offer personal yet relatable anecdotes.

Wentz sees value in recollecting the past not only for the next generation but also as a way to share experiences with others who may feel alone in the journey of motherhood and overwhelmed by the inherent struggles and unexpected worries. It reads at times as a love letter to her own family and friends and also as a reminder to all families that the journey is over too fast and every moment should be savored. One of the most moving chapters is one that details the diagnosis of her infant daughter’s heart defects and eventual multiple surgeries that ultimately save her life. She captures the fear, hope, and love of this harrowing part of her journey.

Wentz’s reflections on her life are a celebration of the everyday, ordinary lives of people which she captures with a warm, homespun voice that is full of wisdom and humor. She also offers a portrait of small-town America that references the land, nature, neighborhood kids, and community events. While the details of her life may be unique, the journey she is on has been traveled by many.

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