The Porch Swing

Fiction - Social Issues
231 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In the wistful realistic fiction work, The Porch Swing by R.A. Dillow, a grandmother shares memories with her grandchildren as she turns the pages of a photo album. She remembers her husband’s devotion throughout their life together as she turns each page. In the beginning, he chooses to be with her even after he learns about her illness. The porch swing which he constructs for her is a symbol of their love. The scratches and scars on the wood represent the many beautiful memories they have had together as a couple and as a family. The photo album also brings back sad memories; moments that she struggles to recount to the grandchildren. The children are delighted to hear about their parents’ childhood. The story takes an unexpected turn in the end.

The Porch Swing by R.A. Dillow is a splendid collection of dreams and hopes. It is told through a likable, intuitive main character. I loved how well-rendered the couple’s children and grandchildren are in the story. I also liked how the work beautifully depicts each memory shared by the family and the emotions surrounding each moment. There are also twists within the story and toward its end that made me become engrossed in the story. The Porch Swing by R.A. Dillow is a poignant and also heart-warming work with a surprising conclusion. It captures simple yet profound moments and is a nostalgic depiction of its characters’ hopes and memories. It takes the audience on a moving journey through many light-hearted and difficult moments.

Pikasho Deka

In The Porch Swing by R.A. Dillow, Amy still remembers the day she married Joe. Now, a grandmother, there is nothing else in the world she would rather do than spend the summer telling stories of her life with her husband and her children to her adorable grandkids. A mother of three, Amy had a storybook wedding. She married the love of her life, Joe, and they raised three beautiful children. However, tragedy strikes when their middle child, Susan, a youth minister who devoted her life to serving others, dies tragically in Guatemala. But Amy's resilience sees her through the dark times, and she goes on to become the lovable grandma her grandchildren adore.

A slice-of-life story filled to the brim with nostalgia, warmth, and heartbreak, The Porch Swing breezes past without a single hitch. Author R.A. Dillow tells a moving tale about a woman revisiting her entire life while doing the thing she loves the most in the world, telling stories to her young grandkids. But everything may not be as it seems as there is a unique twist toward the end. I can honestly say that I didn't foresee the climax. It makes the tale all the more heartbreaking and bittersweet to read, adding a bit of complexity to the narrative. The characters are grounded and immensely likable. If you had a grandmother who used to tell stories over the holidays, The Porch Swing might just be the book for you.

Grant Leishman

The Porch Swing by R.A. Dillow is a gentle and ultimately bittersweet tale of familial love and ordinary lives lived to their fullest. Amy has lived a full, busy, and happy life with her beloved Joe on their farm in rural middle America. Now, as she contemplates her golden years, still swinging on the same porch swing that young Joe had made for her when they were courting, all those years ago, it is time to pass on the memories, the joys, and the humor of their life and their children’s lives to their growing brood of grandchildren. Over the course of one long, hot summer, Grandma Amy and her grandkids pore over a photo album of their lives, with Grandma using the opportunity to point out not only the highlights of a satisfying life but also the disappointments, sadness, and tragedy to instill a deeper understanding of what lies ahead for these happy youngsters as they mature and grow.

The Porch Swing is beautiful in its gentleness and humility in a world that seems so rushed, so dangerous, and so full of tragedy. Author R.A. Dillow reminds us through this story that family and love are at the heart of every relationship. It is refreshing to read a novel that is so clean and simple as this one. It is the perfect antidote to the angst that we seem to face every day in this frantic existence that we can so easily become wrapped up in. I can truly appreciate the simplicity of life that the author portrays through the character of Grandma Amy. I particularly enjoyed that Amy struggled with the idea that she had favorites among her own children and also among her grandchildren, although she did admit to feeling some pangs of guilt for that favoritism. She did clearly love all of them deeply though and this shone through every page of this narrative. Yes, there is a twist at the end that will surprise readers. For a change of pace, I can definitely recommend this read.

Jennifer Ibiam

Amy was a beautiful young woman, but she was sick and dying. Fortunately, the love of her life, Joe, never turned his back on her. He even proposed to her with a handcrafted porch swing, sporting heart carvings and their initials. The book started with a photo album that held many stories and memories of Amy, her husband, and her children. Each picture was a story of the good, not so good, and the best times. Surrounded by her grandchildren named Ruby, Henry, Jeffrey, Alice, Martha, Cooper, Doug, and Roger, she transported them back to the past. She reminisced about parenting, love so true, fun, loss, grief, and life. However, expect an ending that will make your jaw drop, one you never saw coming in The Porch Swing by R. A. Dillow.

Wow! The Porch Swing by R. A. Dillow was a short but punchy novel with depth. I was thoughtful after reading this book because there was a lot to unpack. If only we were fairies that could make wishes come true by the snap of a finger or through our imaginations, then no one would feel pain. The Porch Swing was a story of love and loss, grief and happiness, fulfillment and perceived failures. It juxtaposed the bubbly energy of youth and the brittleness of aging. The book also showcased hindsight, nostalgia, and the passage of time. Life is only as beautiful as we make it. I learned a lot of lessons from this book, but I felt a physical shock at the end of the story. I loved the premise, plot, and development. Dillow is a talented writer of unpredictable stories! Please write more.