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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The uplifting true story of a wife and mother's yearlong experience inviting one new guest (from senators to school teachers, artists to professional athletes) to dinner for each week that her husband was deployed overseas. But DINNER WITH THE SMILEYS isn't really about dinner. And it's not about the military. It's about 250 strangers who came together to help raise three boys (one of the cusp of adolescence) in the absence of their father. It's a love story about marriage, motherhood, and the power of community. Inside this personal story are the universal issues of loss, grief, loneliness, regrets, sacrifice, and, ultimately, unexpected joy and finding one's own strength.…

Dinner with the Smileys

by Sarah Smiley

Overall Book Review:

Dinner with the Smileys is a heartwarming read. When author Sarah Smiley’s husband is deployed, she and her three young sons decide to fill the empty place at their table with weekly guests. These dinners quickly become more than just a shared meal. I loved reading Smiley’s antidotes about each guest and the hilarity, heartbreak, and chaos that often ensued. Smiley’s tone is warm and inviting throughout the book and she candidly shares the ups and downs of raising her rambunctious boys without her husband. Dinner with the Smileys left me with a real appreciation for family and community, as well as immense gratitude for those serving our country. A terrific book!

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 5 religious exclamations, 1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore: Report of a character breaking up fights between drunks at a bar.


Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.