BOOKS


MY PRECIOUS MOTHER

By Donna B. Pacini-Christensen




MY PRECIOUS MOTHER
ON AMAZON


REVIEWS IN BOOK

I was Donna's neighbor and friend in Pepperell Village when we were girls. I lived one block behind her grandparent's block. We met when we were approximately 11 years old, after my family moved to Pepperell. In June 2017 I spoke with Donna for the first time since we were young adults. We reminisced for about three hours on the phone. It was good to reconnect, to embrace our friendship once again. We have many parallel memories. I too enjoyed watching my mother get ready for work. I would make my mother a cup of coffee and sometimes help with her hair. I can imagine our mothers stopping to talk with one another in Woolworth's. I can envision Donna being a delighted little girl exploring the aisles in Woolworth's. I loved the baby turtles. I also thought the turtles were all girls! I had baby turtles as pets and a charming parakeet that I believe came from the Woolworth's store Donna mentions. There are numerous things Donna shares in her book that I recall. Many things that she wrote about her mother are as I remembered. I especially enjoyed the touché story where Donna's mother instantaneously revealed her vast knowledge about musicians, and I appreciated her poetry, letters, and drawings. This book was difficult for Donna to write, but I am delighted that she has written about her family and her Pepperell Village memories. They are my memories as well, and like Donna I cherish them. The wonderful people she speaks about in her book were wonderful people that I knew too.

Barbara Alford
(Mentioned in the book: Treasure/Scooter)

Barbara Alford's parents are Lois, age 88, and the late Fred Tucker of Pepperell Mill Village. She was married to the late Richard "Al" Estes for twelve years and they had two sons. Barbara and Jim Alford have been married for 35 years, and they have one son. They live in Opelika, Alabama. Barbara worked at Diversified Products in Opelika, AL, Dexter Lock in Auburn, AL, and then later at Auburn University from 1992 until she retired in 2006. She is a breast cancer survivor since December 2004, and the proud grandmother of four grandchildren.



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Donna B. Pacini-Christensen paints a personal multifaceted kaleidoscope that spans a lifetime in this soul-bearing book. I am sure writing these memories took her through an emotional roller coaster. Her feelings, like the colors of the rainbow, are on transparent display. She hides nothing. Reading her recollections and life stories left me realizing that many of the people and situations could very well apply to my life and me. The most interesting aspect I felt while reading was my ability to visualize the people, places, and experiences she was offering up. The way the book traverses her emotional bank account left me not knowing what the next paragraph would bring. In this way I embraced a state of full separation from my usual need to predict the path that an account would take. The more I thought about this, I realized it was as if Donna and I were having a conversation. We were swapping stories around a campfire or over coffee, with belly laughs, even a tear or two, and everything in-between.

In retrospect, this book revealed many things I know to be true – Donna is an honest, trustworthy, straight-shooting lover of life and of people. I know this book was difficult for her to bring forth. She mainly wrote it for her mother's grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and for her grandparent's descendents; she wanted them to know the truth. If you know Donna, you are blessed. If you do not know her, then trust me - you are still blessed because she would not exaggerate the thickness of a hair, let alone fabricate a story to clear her family's honor. What she has written in this book - you can take as Gospel.

Michael D. Borboa

Guitarist and songwriter Michael D. Borboa is a professional winemaker with The Wine Group, an American company founded in 1981 and based in Livermore, California. The company produces award-winning wines. Some of their well-known brands are Franzia, Cupcake Vineyards, Concannon Vineyards, Big House, Almaden, Fish Eye, and flipflop. The also produce Cupcake Vodka. The company is the world's third largest wine producer by volume and the world's most cost-and carbon-efficient vintner. Michael has been a close friend with Donna and Tim for several years.



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My Precious Mother, by Donna B. Pacini-Christensen is a heart-felt biographical account of a childhood spent with a woman of incredible talent, enormous compassion, and forward-thinking values, yet left tragically flawed because of the life and times of the 1940's - 1950s, which robbed her of opportunities to realize her own potential as an artist and as a woman. Donna's mother Genell's circumstances led her to a dependency on alcohol, but despite this, she managed to lovingly instill her daughter with personal values of empathy, passion for inclusiveness, and love for the arts and literature. This family, like all families, had flaws.

The author was not only blessed with her courageous mother, but also she was fortunate to have wonderful grandparents who acted as insightful mentors. Her grandmother's elegant manner inspired admiration and honor and, she was an amazing purveyor of good old-fashioned southern cooking. Her grandfather was a splendid storyteller with a magical imagination. Donna's mother was a gifted vocalist in the time of honky-tonks, even singing occasional duets with Hank Williams Sr. Our author recalls a childhood mostly in Pepperell Village, Opelika, Alabama in the 1950's and early 1960's. Her life may have been poor monetarily but not meager in its character-building experience.

She recalls growing up, from joyful times spent in the wonderland of a Woolworth's Department store to the fun of roller-skating on the sidewalks wearing her beloved steel-wheeled roller-skates. She sadly reflects on the pain of experiencing the affects of racism with an African American childhood playmate to the agonizing times she had to dump out bottles of vodka to protect her mother from her alcoholism. This book is a powerful testament to Donna's love for her mother and their determination to thrive despite their challenges. Most of us can relate to this compelling story. You must read this extraordinary account.

Tim Christensen

Tim Christensen, a retired high school English teacher, is a guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, photographer, and web designer. In 2004 he started A Starry Night Productions with his wife Donna B. Pacini-Christensen.


astarrynightproductions.com



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S&H Green Stamps, iron-skillet cornbread, fishing for catfish with bare hands, nightshift at the cotton mill, fig trees, grandparents, favorite dolls, chewing gum—this is just a small sampling of the lush details Donna B. Pacini-Christensen uses to piece together a quilt of vignettes about her childhood growing up in small-town Alabama. These tales are far ranging in experience—from a vivid depiction of the sights and scents at Woolworth’s Department Store, to a competition the author has with her mother about whose generation has the best musicians, to memories of her mother eating chicken backs so her daughters could have the better pieces—and they are all infused with admiration, appreciation, and abiding love for the people who came before her, who had little and struggled greatly but who created opportunity for those who followed. This memoir will stay with a reader for its honest and clear-eyed portrayal of people who, though flawed, exhibited their magnificence in the way they led their everyday lives.

Albert Garcia

Albert Garcia's collection of poems, A Meal Like That, was published in 2015. He is the author of two previously published books of poetry, Rainshadow and Skunk Talk, and of Digging In: Literature for Developing Writers. His poems appear in numerous journals and have been featured in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and Garrison Keillor’s A Writer’s Almanac. After graduating from Red Bluff High School and California State University-Chico, Garcia earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana-Missoula. He is dean of Language and Literature at Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California.


A MEAL LIKE THAT
ON AMAZON



RAINSHADOW: POEMS
ON AMAZON



SKUNK TALK
ON AMAZON



DIGGING IN
LITERATURE FOR DEVELOPING WRITERS
ON AMAZON



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Donna B. Pacini-Christensen's descriptive writing style took us back and allowed us to recall experiences common with our generation. Whether shelling pecans on the front porch, or feeling your roller-skate slide one way, while your trapped foot went in another direction, her perspective always shines a happy light. Like so many siblings, she and her sister lived through the same events, yet their memories as well as their Life's outlook have opposite views - one is positive, accepting, and optimistic; the other is negative, cynical, and pessimistic. We prefer Positivity!

Ray and Louise Nelson

Ray Nelson is the CEO and founder of Guitars Not Guns. As a result of their experience as Foster Parents, Ray and his wife, Louise started the nonprofit organization in 2000 to provide guitars and lessons to foster children and at-risk youth in a classroom setting with qualified teachers as an alternative to violence. Music has the power to heal. Guitars Not Guns instills a love and appreciation for music that children can carry with them for the rest of their lives. As of June, 2017 they have served over 4000 children.


guitarsnotguns.org



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With her book My Precious Mother, Donna B. Pacini-Christensen has written a stunningly beautiful tribute to her mother, grandparents, and a childhood filled with love and laughter. Through the photographs and vivid anecdotes included in these pages, I felt like I truly got to know the people in Donna's family, and I cared for them deeply. The detailed sensory descriptions enabled me to travel back and experience small-town life during a simpler time. This book is a tribute to all imperfect families (which, in reality, is all families because no human is perfect) and shows that love is the most powerful and important gift of all.

Dallas Woodburn

Dallas Woodburn is a writer, speaker, and literacy advocate. She is the author of two published books: There's a Huge Pimple on My Nose and 3 a.m. In 2001, Woodburn founded the non-profit organization Write On! For Literacy. This organization is dedicated to encouraging kids to discover confidence, joy, connection and self-expression through reading and writing. Woodburn's nonfiction has been published in numerous national publications, her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her plays have been produced in Los Angeles and New York City.


THERE'S A HUGE PIMPLE ON MY NOSE
ON AMAZON



3 a.m.
a collection of short stories
ON AMAZON



writeonbooks.org



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BIOGRAPHY

Donna B. Pacini-Christensen is a published novelist, poet, and reviewer. She writes novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, songs, and literary/music reviews. She is a vocalist and for the last seven years has performed with her husband Tim 10-12 times each month at senior facilities. They also perform private concerts. For nearly nine years Donna and Tim have co-hosted a monthly open mic music showcase. They have co-hosted numerous poetry showcases. Donna is a photographer with a passion for photographing live performances and nature. Many of her photographs are on websites and in print publications. In 2004 she started A Starry Night Productions with her husband.

astarrynightproductions.com



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BOOKS