My ugly charm bracelet and the lovely novel, The Charm Bracelet.

I have a problem picking up random (read: ugly) jewelry. I’m not talking about a “you’ll regret that later” necklace at Target. I’m talking about “I can’t believe Grandma ever wore that and I can’t believe someone bought it at our garage sale because I figured we’d just throw it out” pieces.

Hi. I’m cool.

Anyway, I have this charm bracelet that is either amazing or completely terrifying. I think it’s from the 50s or 60s, and it has uniform charms with “Here, let me strip all the fun out of your teenage years” sayings engraved on them.

Some gems:

  • Stop and think before you drink — then don’t. (OK, I get this one.)
  • Don’t let your parents down. They brought you up. (Geez oh Pete. Like kids aren’t under enough pressure already.)
  • Choose a date who would make a good mate. (I appreciate the rhyming, but do I have to be thinking about marriage at the junior prom?)
  • At the first moment turn away from unclean thinking — at the first moment. (I find this one hysterical. AT THE FIRST MOMENT! AT THE FIRST MOMENT!)
  • Don’t show off driving. If you want to race go to Indianapolis. (Was drag racing really a big issue with the teen girls who were wearing CHARM BRACELETS?)

So, my charm bracelet is a bit of a downer. And I’m a crotchety old biddy for being mildly annoyed by the lack of commas. Or I’m a hipster and wearing it ironically. Whatever.

But if you want a charm bracelet that’s awesome … I have a book for you. (See what I did there?)

I was very fortunate to get an advanced copy of this beauty. The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman is a lovely novel about mothers and daughters and secrets and small towns and pulling apart and coming together. I loved it.

Lolly is starting to forget things. When there’s a little accident and her daughter Arden is called back to the small town she left behind long ago … well, there are stories to be told and family issues to be straightened out. And when Arden’s daughter figures out that she has a grandmother she didn’t know about? Well, it’s on.

The author has an ear for dialogue and a wicked sense of humor. This is a heartwarming story about the sometimes perilous terrain of family relationships, and about bonds that last through it all. I might be making this sound a bit treacly, but it isn’t at all. It’s just a great story about family. And it’s funny. And it would make a great gift for Mothers Day. Just sayin’.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give The Charm Bracelet 5 dog families that are working together.

 What have you been reading lately?

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  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin April 1, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I may have to snag that for a Mother's Day gift…
    That charm bracelet sounds…like something else!
    I am reading a delightful book by Penelope Lively. She's a swell author, a more intelligent version of Maeve Binchy. Sweet, connected, clever stories.
    And, you know, I just finished a book by Carol Pouliot;)

  • Reply Becky April 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I really sort of covet that charm bracelet you have. I'd have so much fun wearing it.

    I did a post just yesterday on the latest books I read (

  • Reply Kari Wagner April 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I am nothing if not a random commenter.
    Yes I know commenter isn't a word.
    I needed to tell you that this weekend is Erma and I am not there and I assume you aren't either?
    Anyway, it has been two years since we met.
    So happy anniversary.
    That is all.
    And I wish we were at Erma together.

  • Reply Violet April 1, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    I want to see the ugly charm bracelet!

    Night before last I finished a book so forgettable that I had to think really hard to remember its name. Last night I started "Triangle: The Fire that Changed America" by David von Drehle, which is about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC. The author is drawing me in so far.

    Oooh – I have read most of Maeve Binchy's books so I need to check out Penelope Lively!

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