Review and Giveaway: The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison

20 Aug

The Gift of an Ordinary DayMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a beautifully written memoir that had me pausing to reflect on my own life.

From the publisher’s web site:

The Gift of an Ordinary Day is an intimate memoir of a family in transition-boys becoming teenagers, careers ending and new ones opening up, an attempt to find a deeper sense of place, and a slower pace, in a small New England town. It is a story of mid-life longings and discoveries, of lessons learned in the search for home and a new sense of purpose, and the bittersweet intensity of life with teenagers–holding on, letting go.

Poised on the threshold between family life as she’s always known it and her older son’s departure for college, Kenison is surprised to find that the times she treasures most are the ordinary, unremarkable moments of everyday life, the very moments that she once took for granted, or rushed right through without noticing at all.

The relationships, hopes, and dreams that Kenison illuminates will touch women’s hearts, and her words will inspire mothers everywhere as they try to make peace with the inevitable changes in store.

Those who know my reading habits know I’m a fast reader, and that I really don’t like it when a book forces me to slow down. Knowing this, you will see the compliment here: I found this book a slow read, and I didn’t mind at all.

This was a book about slowing down in our lives, of being open to change, of accepting ourselves and those around us. As my daughter starts middle school, I’m reflecting on my life and on hers. These are messages I needed to take into account.

The author is a very different person than I am, living a very different life, but her words still resonated with me:
p. 86-87

It occurs to me that perhaps I don’t have to push at life quite so hard after all, that sometimes the best thing we can do is allow our lives simply to take us where we need to go. The truth is, I don’t have any idea what goals I should be focusing on or how I ought to compose my life at this juncture– life in a new house, without regular work, without two children at home, without my old, tightly knit web of neighbors and friends.

But as all the identities I worked so hard to construct over the years begin to slough away I feel myself reconnecting with my own quiet center. It is as if I am, at last, catching a glimpse o myself not as I might wish to be, but as I am. I see a woman who is less ambitious than she once was. Someone less self-conscious, less invested in appearances, but also less “special” than the person I always thought I was meant to be. I see my own ordinariness. And I see that to be ordinary is okay after all.

and p. 57-58

It’s easy, given the times we live in and the implicit messages we absorb each day, to equate a good life with having a lot and doing a lot. So it’s also easy to fall into believing that our children, if they are to succeed in life, need to be terrific at everything, and that it’s up to us o make sure that they are– to keep them on track through tougher course loads, more activities, more competitive sports, more summer programs. But in all our well-intentioned efforts to do the right thing for out teenage children, we may be failing to provide them with something that is truly essential– the time and space they need to wake up to themselves, to grow acquainted with their own innate gifts, to dream their dreams and discover their true natures.

These messages are balanced with parts of her story that show the value of hard work towards a goal, just taking the time to make sure it is the right goal.  These ideas are not contradictory.

I enjoyed hearing about Katrina Kenison’s life– building a new house, settling into a new community, watching her boys grow up. I loved the language she used to describe her thoughts. But most of all, I loved the reflection it encouraged in myself.

Giveaway information

Thank you to Hachette Books for providing me a review copy of The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Thanks to them, I’m hosting a giveaway of 5 copies!


  1. Leave a comment to enter. Be sure your e-mail address is valid, so I can notify you if you win.  If you have additional entries, you can leave them in the same comment.
  2. For another entry, let me know if you subscribe to my blog via RSS or e-mail, or if you follow me on Twitter. Thank you to my current subscribers, Welcome if you are new to my blog.
  3. One more entry if you let other people know about this giveaway! On your blog, on Twitter, another social site. Just let me know.
  4. As a bonus (for an additional entry) tell me about a book that spoke to you in your life.

Having an address (not a PO Box) in the US or Canada is required. I’ll pick the winners in the evening of September 10.


Posted by on August 20, 2009 in books, giveaway, reviews


Tags: , , ,

59 responses to “Review and Giveaway: The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison

  1. Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy)

    August 20, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Laura, this one sounds very good. I’d love to be entered.

    1. My email is peanutboo2 AT gmail DOT com.

    2. I subscribe to your blog via Google Reader.

    3. “Stones from the River” by Ursula Hegi was one that I read at a pivotal time in my life, and it is still one of my favorites today.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Wanda

    August 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Wanda

    August 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I subscribe through Google Reader.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Just Mom

    August 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Sounds like a great book – please enter me!

  5. Just Mom

    August 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    And..I subscribe on Google Reader.


  6. Ruth

    August 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Please enter me in your contest. It sounds like a very thought provoking book.

    I subscribe to to your blog.


  7. RubyMoon

    August 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve had this book on my TBR list for awhile so am glad to see you are doing a giveaway for it. It looks wonderful! Thanks for the chance.

  8. RubyMoon

    August 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I am an email subscriber to your blog. Just now did that–tired of using the old fashioned bookmark to find you.

  9. nanscorner

    August 21, 2009 at 4:20 am

    This sounds like a great book. My goal every school year is to slow down and to not get so stressed out by the details. Please enter me in the giveaway.


    I also subscribe through google reader.

  10. Pam R.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:43 am

    This sounds like a good book.

    I subscribe via google reader.

  11. Crystal

    August 21, 2009 at 6:31 am

    This sounds really good.

    1 – crystalfulcher(at)
    2 – I subscribe by email
    3 – I tweeted (@cfulcher)
    4 – Pre : The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan – this was the book I need to give me a kick in the pants to get back up and get moving – he accomplished so much and his life was cut short – it reminded me that life is short and I need to do what I can now and enjoy it.

    Great review and thanks for the contest!

  12. Susan Helene Gottfried

    August 21, 2009 at 9:02 am

    No need to enter me, babe. I’m dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I’ve got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  13. Barbara S.

    August 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I would love to read this book. Count me in.

    I follow your blog and subscribe by email.

    I follow you on Twitter. (pine1211)

    The one book that spoke to me at one time in my life was A Gathering of Old Men by Earnest Gaines.

  14. Barbara S.

    August 21, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I tweeted the giveaway at this link:

    Thanks for the hosting this giveaway.

  15. Kristen

    August 21, 2009 at 10:16 am

    This sounds lovely. Please enter me.

    whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

  16. Kristen

    August 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I subscribe in Google Reader.

    whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

  17. Janel

    August 21, 2009 at 10:40 am

    My kids are growing up fast too. Sounds like I could learn a lot from this book. Please enter me.

    One of the books that made a real difference in my life was Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. Thanks!


  18. Lisa A.

    August 21, 2009 at 10:52 am

    It sounds like a very thought-provoking read! I’d love to see what I can learn from it!

    I’m an email subscriber!

  19. Kari

    August 21, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I think my mom could relate.

    PS, award for you:

  20. mindy

    August 21, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    sounds wonderful thanks

  21. Care

    August 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    oh man this looks like a beautiful read! I love that you are WPer so you have my email, right and you know that I follow you on Twitter already! but whatever… I do think I will tbr this, it looks lovely.

  22. debbie

    August 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    This looks great. I’d love the chance to win it.

  23. Beth

    August 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    This looks great! Please enter me!

  24. Beth

    August 21, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I’m a subscriber via Google Reader.

  25. rhapsodyinbooks

    August 21, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Sounds good, please enter me!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  26. rhapsodyinbooks

    August 21, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I subscribe via Google Reader.

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  27. Mary Ward

    August 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    It sounds like a lovely book. Great giveaway.


  28. Julie

    August 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Sounds like a book I need to read! Please enter me.

    I just subscribed to your blog via email today.

    A book that spoke to me many years ago (in my college years) was The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin.

  29. amandasue

    August 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I’d love a chance to read this thanks!

    A book that spoke to me was Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury.

  30. Teresa W

    August 23, 2009 at 6:17 am

    I’d like to be included!

  31. Debbie D

    August 23, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Please Include me in your giveaway. I am a subscriber.

  32. Esme

    August 23, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the giveaway

    I loved Jansten’s Gift-unfortunatly I could relate to the author’s pain.

    I tweeted.
    cococroissants Gift of an Ordinary Day-we can all use one.

    chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

  33. Mozi Esmes Mommy

    August 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I’d be very interested in reading this…

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  34. Laurie

    August 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Hi, Laura, count me in!

    1. Comment: based on your review, it sounds as if there is something I can learn from this book. I already recognize myself in what you have written. My email address is the same as what I use on maymoms – I prefer not to put my address in public.
    2. I follow you via twitter/facebook!
    3. Posted on facebook!
    4. I’m reading My Sister’s Keeper. My best friend had told me how powerful it was. I am used to reading books that make me feel happy or sad. This one is evoking an unusual response – that of hate for the mother. As a mom, I am surprised that I cannot begin to accept or tolerate what the mom has done to her daughter.


  35. Jake Lsewhere

    August 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  36. Jake Lsewhere

    August 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I’m also a subscriber via RSS.

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

  37. Teddyree

    August 24, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Lovely review, I have 2 teenage boys and I think I’d like this one so it’s going on my wishlist.
    Don’t enter me, I live in Australia

  38. Jake Lsewhere

    August 24, 2009 at 1:07 am

    I’ve also blogged about this giveaway here.


  39. Ruth Ann

    August 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the chance to win!
    ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com

  40. Marie

    August 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    This sounds like a great book that I could really benefit from right now.

  41. karen k

    August 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Please count me in…thanks

    karen k

  42. karen k

    August 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I’m a follower 🙂

    karen k

  43. Peggy

    August 25, 2009 at 7:13 am

    This book sounds good!

    I saw the play “Our Town” for the first time a few years ago (not sure how I missed it for so long). It was my niece’s high school production and it sweetly tells us to cherish the ordinary.

  44. Lily M

    August 25, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Wow great review!

    1) prettysailorusagi (at) gmail (dot) com.
    2) I subscribe via Twitter.
    3) one book that really spoke to me was “Life-Size” by Jenefer Shute. Really eye-opening!

  45. Chris G.

    August 26, 2009 at 10:59 am


    1. Book looks good. Thanks for the giveaway!
    2. I subscribe via reader!
    3. I blogged:
    4. One of my favorite life-changing books is Codependent No More. It’s a classic that I read over and over.

  46. Beth

    August 27, 2009 at 11:43 am

    What a great giveaway, please enter me. A book that spoke to my life was The Horse Boy. Although my circumstances are different, it was a parent going to the ends of the earth (literally) for their child.

  47. Dawn M.

    August 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I’d love the chance to read this one. Please count me in. :0)

    I subscribe by email.


  48. Amanda S.

    August 30, 2009 at 8:06 am

    This sounds really good! I’d love to win!

  49. quiltingreader

    August 30, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Sounds like a good book. Enter me, please.

  50. Anita Yancey

    September 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I’d really like to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!


  51. Anita Yancey

    September 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I am an email subscriber!


  52. Sarah Z

    September 4, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Sounds like a really good read!

  53. Janet F

    September 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I would like to enter.


    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  54. Janet F

    September 7, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The Shack spoke to me.

    janetfaye (at) gmail (dot) com

  55. Paula

    September 10, 2009 at 6:34 am

    This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Life can seem as if it is a whirlwind…….

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