HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Blue House: An Elder’s Lifelong Search for Meaning and Purpose
Author: Myrna Denham Porter, with Jacob Shefa
Publisher: Independently published, 2022
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Older teens and adults
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Porter, Myrna Denham, with Shefa, Jacob. The Blue House: An Elder’s Lifelong Search for Meaning and Purpose (Independently published in 2022). This is a memoir of a woman who was born in 1940 into a family of seventeen children in a remote area of Saskatchewan, Canada, and grew up at the edge of the Canadian Prairies. It was an area where conditions were harsh, aspirations were low, and few attended high school. Inspired by her mother to further her education, Myrna left home at the age of fourteen to work as a nanny while attending high school. At the age of seventeen, she emigrated to the United States where she finished high school in Chicago, IL. After a successful career in the early sixties as a flight attendant, she married, raised two children, and obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
When Myrna began her memoirs several years ago, her intention was to leave a legacy of strong values and a guide for “a life worth living” for her grandchildren as well as future generations. But as Myrna wrote, she began to realize that others might benefit from her story. Myrna believes that “no woman is an island,” and she attributes her “life worth living” attitude to her combined parents’ Christian values as well as the other mentors along the way. Commitment, persistence, hard work, love, and forgiveness, though harshly delivered by her father and lovingly delivered by her mother, were all part of Myrna’s early childhood. Through her career and volunteer work, Myrna has made a difference in the lives of others. She believes that through these activities a sense of contentment and peace can be obtained.
The book is not for young children. A few vulgar terms are found in quotations of things that Myrna’s husband said to her in anger. Otherwise, this book is very well written. Myrna’s love and admiration for her mother gave her strength and courage to face life’s challenges as did her religious values. Both Myrna and her husband faced cancer diagnoses. He subsequently died. The Blue House is a fascinating book, revealing the introspective process which the author experiences as she examines her feelings and responses to events during her lifetime. It is a story interwoven with moral lessons, such as lives beginning in hardship can end with success, and meaning and purpose in life can be found by persevering one’s challenges.