In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel
Theresa Patnode grew up on a dairy farm in New York. She was the fifth of twelve children in a very Catholic family of French descent. Most of her childhood was spent helping her parents do the hard work that comes with farm life and twelve children.
Her memoir of this time, In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel, does a great job of honestly portraying this hard, simple life in a very different time. In this age of technology, it is incredibly refreshing to lose yourself in Theresa’s descriptions of places and things that most of us have never, and will never get to see and experience.
My favorite thing about In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel is the writing style. The book is written in first person and present tense, as if Theresa Patnode was still a child, experiencing it all again. This style helps the reader to completely immerse themselves in Theresa’s experiences, to smell the smoked ham and ride the half-wild horse, to go swimming for the first time in a forbidden pond, to walk all the way from the schoolhouse to the nearest home for a pail of water everyday, kneeling on the hard floor for family prayers, and so much more.
In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel is organized by topic, rather than chronologically, which took a little getting used to, but once I adjusted, I realized that this style of writing worked well with Theresa’s story. So often today, we forget about appreciating the simple things in life, but In Gratitude to My Guardian Angel helps us to really stop and take notice of our surroundings and how lucky most of us are in our daily lives. This book is a thought-provoking memoir that I will be recommending to my friends and family.