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Publisher's Summary

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s. Standing up to the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated ideas about women, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for innovation, all the while raising her six sons and four daughters with the belief that miracles are an everyday occurrence.

©2005 Terry Ryan (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 05-12-12

Heartwarming yet unsentimental

If you could sum up The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio in three words, what would they be?

Terry's mom rocks.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mrs. Ryan was an inspiring figure.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book made me laugh and tear up in a few spots...not cry.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the story. It's told without nostalgia, yet somehow made me think of times now gone. I'll never forget the protagonist and the Ryan family.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good 'slice of life' story

But too long. The first quarter or so was fascinating; the middle two quarters dragged, felt like just more of the same; but then the last quarter was engaging again. I don't regret listening to this book but definitely finished it only because I didn't want to "waste" my credit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Encouraging, inspiring, worth reading and rereading

Among the other books I read, there are a few I come back to again and again. _The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio_ is a favorite companion whose company I enjoy spending time with once again every two or three years.

Evelyn Ryan, the author's mother, lived with extraordinarily difficult circumstances, yet lived a a joyful, hardworking, faith filled, celebratory life, teaching and inspiring her children-- and her story's readers --that God is faithful, that strength, dignity, and joy are a choice, and life is what you make of it.

The author's parents both saw the loss of their dreams. One turned to alcohol and wasted his life. The other chose to pivot, redirect and refocus in a different but related direction, making a good life for herself.

The author's father was an angry alcoholic, yet his wife found a way to help each of their ten children grasp and embrace that their father's choices and their external circumstances did not have to define their lives, that they, themselves, had the power and freedom to define their own lives, just as their mother had, with wisdom, wit, determination and joy.

Terry Ryan's book is a keeper, one I intend to read and reread over the years. I still have some lessons to learn from her.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this is a wonderful story of love & resiliency

loved this story. it is a good reminder of how optimism can make type life better instead of bitter.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

"The Prize Winner" is Prize Winning!

A beautifully written, wonderfully read true story about a mid-century woman whose irrepressible heart, wit, wisdom & talent buoyed her family through tough times.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Poor writing

This was an interesting-ish story but it was poorly written. I would not recommended it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful