The Magic of Ordinary: A Memoir is a loving tribute from author Melissa (Missi) Johnson Gouty to her amazing father, Melford (Mel) Johnson. This nostalgic look of family and life in a small Midwestern town had me turning page after page. It was a bright, sunshiny smile on the face of a dark dreary day. You must read it and have your spirits lifted, too.
Author Gouty and I went to school together. She was one of my sweetest friends. So many of her memories mirrored my own. Even though our lives were vastly different, they were extremely similar. That’s what happens in small towns. They bring people together and give them common threads. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read this love letter. It is nothing less than beautiful.
I enjoyed the style that talented wordsmith Gouty uses in writing. Her story is transparent and brutally honest. There is a warmth to it. Readers will feel like they are chatting over a cup of coffee or at least, I did. It brought tears to my eyes at times, many of them from laughing.
There is a plethora of life and spiritual lessons woven throughout these exceptional stories. It reveals the working of a Christian family, a man of faith, how to appreciate nature, and how to simply enjoy life. The author proudly announces that she never recalls her father swearing or using rough language in situations when most men would. Can you do the same?
It is difficult to choose a favorite tale. I enjoyed them all for various reasons. There is just one place that I found myself uncomfortable. In one of the stories the author uses the crass term for feces. (Yes, I am a prude.) It is one of the words that my Southern Grandmother instilled in me (obviously) that a lady never says. I realize I am the exception now and not the rule, but it still bothered me.
I highly recommend this charming memoir to everyone. Baby Boomers will certainly relate to the references made. There are discussion questions in the back so it would make a nice book club selection. I give this a 5 out of 5 star rating.