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Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My Mother
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Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons from My Mother

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Jo’s mother, Babe, liked to drink, dance, and stay up very late. When the husband she adored went on sales calls, she waited for him in the parking lot, embroidering pillowcases. Jo grew up thinking that the last thing she wanted was to be like her mother. Then it dawned on her that her own happiness was derived in large part from lessons Babe had taught her. Her mother mi ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by She Writes Press
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She Writes Press releases women’s memoirs of consistently high quality and interest. I found this one a little thin, but it would make an ideal Mother’s Day present and appeals to a sense of nostalgia for the good old days of traditional values (like hard work, optimism, gratitude and generosity). Mostly, this little book is a tribute to her late mother, known as “Babe,” who lived to nearly 98 and was quite the character. She loved to host parties and dance and wore eye-popping colors, especiall ...more
Althea | themoonwholistens ☾
Never Sit If You Can Dance is about a woman's appreciation for her mother and the lessons we learn from our own. Sometimes we don't realize it but our mothers always have these life lessons to teach us. It reminded me of my own mother and I was able to relate to a number of these lessons.

I very much enjoyed this book.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for sending me an ARC through Booksirens to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*All of my reviews
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one mostly due to the common sense and upbeat lessons that the author's late mother passed along to her. 'Babe' was feisty, smart, witty, and embraced life to the fullest whenever possible. While we'd all like to strive for the good life, it's not always possible due to failing health, financial issues, etc. I'd caution readers to not compare Babe's life with theirs - it may result in their lives coming up short given her family's ability to afford caregivers, an ideal living arra ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
So many times I have said or did something and thought, "OMG! I'm turning into my mother!" Never Sit If You Can Dance by Jo Giese is a heartfelt memoir of lessons learned from her mother. I loved this book! It also made me realize how much I appreciate my mother and grandmother. So many lessons learned from them, even though at a young age, I didn't always appreciate. ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the author, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Oh how I loved this book! It just warmed my heart, so many of Babe’s gems that I had to write down and will keep close. I was reminded again that it’s the little things: never show up empty handed, send a thank you note, the happiness of giving and receiving flowers, that can make all the difference. I especially loved the chapter on the “good” goodbye. It reminded me so much of my grandparents and how
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely tribute to the author's mother, Babe, who lived life to the fullest, embraced the concept of carpe diem, imparted wisdom of how to live life and who never wore dull clothes. Told in a series of vignettes, Jo Giese conveys Babe's personality as well as the journey a daughter takes in her mother's final years. ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Lessons for life and living

We incorporate more from a Mother than we even notice at the time. This book comforted me regarding similar situations that I experienced with my own Mother. It is a short , but powerful read.
Taylor (TaysBookishThoughts)
Never Sit If You Can Dance is a wonderful memoir about a woman and the lessons she learned from her mother. Each chapter is a different lesson that Jo learned from her mom since she was a child. She explains each lesson through a story on how she learned that lesson and how she still applies these lessons to her life daily. The author speaks so highly of her mother that you have no doubt how much she must appreciate and love her.

This book is such an easy and beautiful read. Being on 144 pages, I
This is a cozy, heart-warming little book, written by Jo Giese as a tribute to her family, which is the most precious and meaningful thing a person can have in life. Her mother, Babe is clearly an eccentric person and her advices are clear-cut and still valid. Though she grew up in one of the worst times of human history, in 1916, never worked and was a housewife all her life, her way of upbringing children, taking care of her family and the example she set was quite praiseworthy and it is quite ...more
Carla Suto
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
NEVER SIT IF YOU CAN DANCE by Jo Giese is a heartfelt and uplifting memoir written in celebration of her mother, Babe. I loved the light-hearted and poignant way that the author shared some of the life lessons learned from her mother and her family that have stayed with her to this day. I found myself thinking of my own Mom and how much of the way I do things comes from her example. By the end of this touching little book, I felt like I knew Babe personally. She certainly knew how to live life t ...more
Annie McDonnell
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A mother that definitely deserved her very own book, let alone that sentence.

This book was ultimately a love story to Babe, written by her daughter Jo Giese. Sharing all of the special, witty, kind and often laugh out-loud wisdom that Babe passed on to Jo, we are given a beautiful gift.

This gift unwraps one chapter at a time, and it is just glorious advice. I know I will remember them, as I want to put into practice. Especially “Nobody Likes Depressed people”.


Jo – I trust your Mot
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very sweet memoir of the authors mother, Babe. Though she grew up thinking that she wanted to be something different than her mother, the author recounts all the lessons she's learned, and now emulates because of her. A very easy, quick read (it took me less than an afternoon while waiting on the hubby to mow a large property), this was a loving testament to the way things "used" to be, and how the ideals of generations past could shape the future. ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This lovely little memoir is written by Jo Giese; award winning radio journalist, author, former TV reporter. Written about her mother, Babe, and the lessons she learned from her. Funny, sweet, and thoughtful. I loved reading this little gem :)
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely tribute to the author's mother. There are many lessons we learn from our parents if we are willing to listen. I really enjoyed reading through the lessons that 'Babe' had to share. ...more
Jane Kelsey
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Loved it. Review to follow
Melanie Johnson
The author writes a book of essays about the lessons that her mom, Babe, taught her. I can imagine that Babe was so full of life and she obviously taught the author much about life. There were some funny, laugh out loud moments and some really sad moments as her mom lost people that she loved.
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lovely celebration of daughter/mother relationship. Many wonderful lessons, many that I already live by...
I read this in the bathtub all night. I feel blessed to be aware of Babe. What a remarkable woman! I wish she could've lived longer to see her Mother's Day bonanza. Nonetheless, her life overflowed with joy and love. Babe was a woman to emulate.

Cheers to feminine greatness!
The Dwarf Did It...
Im very picky when it comes to reading memoirs but I have to say this was a great read! It's a short book but it reminded me of my mother and I. My mother is eccentric and dramatic but until I read this I never realized how much of my mother I have brought into the upbringing of my children. I live by most of the values in this book and I hope to pass it onto my kids and they see me in a similar light. ...more
Shannon Navin
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
You know all those things that your mom and/or grandma say that you don’t pay any attention to day-to-day but become part of the fabric of your life? That’s what this book is about. A light read with a heavier impact, this book is sweet and endearing but will leave you slightly emotional and weave it’s way into your thoughts long after you’ve turned the last page!

Giese’s book is a memoir: she positions it as a memoir of her mother’s life but, in truth, it is also a memoir of her own. Her mom, wh
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
It Would Indeed Be A Shame To Rate This Epic Just A 5 Star Alone..It Is So Heart Warming One Minute And So Tearful The Very Next As It Tugs At The Very Heartstrings. Just The Very Thought Of Tagging It To Merely 5 * Does Unspeakable Injustice To Both Jo Giese As Well As Her Indomitable MoM Gladys “Babe” Sylvia Kenney Giese Who Inspired This Book From Her Personal Life Teachings.
Having Lived To Be 97 Years, 8 Months & 25 Days.To Even Say That She Lived A Full Life Till Her Very Last Breath Would
Claire Fullerton
Who among us hasn’t said, “I could write a book about my mother!” We often say such things in jest, though the quip’s foundation is actually complimentary. We study our mothers throughout most of our lives trying to piece together the enigmatic variables that result in their particular formula. For many, it takes a lifetime, yet author Jo Giese has done just this in her delightful book, Never Sit If You Can Dance, which, as you might suspect, is a line she learned from her mother.
It is baby-boo
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“But I’m still curious”. This line at age 97 from Babe, the author’s mother, probably sums up her entire attitude and zest for life. This book is a tribute to an indefatigable mom from a daughter who over time has realised all those little things that went into making her mother an incredible person.

In another place, Jo says – “Having grown into being Babe’s daughter, I adopted a personal mantra: In spite of what’s happening, it’s okay to be happy today…..People don’t like to be around depressed
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like what Jo Giese has done with this memoir of her mother, Babe. Giese has given us snippets of her late mother in the form of lessons (13 in total) that Babe (simply by living her life) has instilled in others.

The lessons aren't complex -- "thank you notes are never too plentiful" or "make the best of it," but it seems in today's world a lot of these niceties are forgotten. Jo Giese's remembrance of her mother will give a kick start for many of us to getting back (if we've strayed) on that c
Kriti | Armed with A Book
One of the reasons I read is to learn from other's experiences. Never sit if you can dance: Lessons from my mother spoke volumes to me without even picking it up. Full of a lifetime of wisdom, feelings from childhood and keeping a connection with one's parent as she grows old - Jo's story about the things she learned from her mom, Babe, was elegant and beautiful.

This is not a long read but I would recommend taking your time reading it and letting Jo's experience with Babe let you reflect on yo
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How refreshing it is to pick up a family memoir and learn that the author understands the person her mother really was. Babe, as mom liked to be called, is shown as a fleshed-out person and not as the stereotype mother of her era. Babe liked to dance and sew. She believed in always taking a hostess gift when visiting someone’s house and in staying outside to wave as houseguests departed her home. These are all lessons that worked their way into Jo Giese’s heart without her realizing it at the ti ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just shut Jo Giese's book, "Never Sit if you Can Dance," with a small tear in my eye. Joyful, uplifting, funny and sweet, Jo celebrates her mother's life (her mom's name awas Babe!), and hers, through the small (but mighty) truisms, she used throughout her life.

Never sit if you can dance - I can hear my own mother, and grandmother, saying the same things. It is advice like that, and the stories that are shared behind the advice, that make this book a companion, one to go back to when you need
Jamie Cha
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this 4.5 stars. I received an advanced review copy for free, and am leaving this review voluntarily. I usually like memoirs and this one did not disappoint. It was part self help ( in a fun way), along with mainly fun stories of Babe ( mom) and the author.

I loved how Jo told fun stories about her mom. The chapters were easy to read, short, and entertaining. I finished the book in less than a day( I can't remember the last time that happened).

Even though the ending was fairly predictable,
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about the mother/daughter relationship? Absolutely, especially this one. Reading these memories and life lessons made me think of my own childhood and my relationship with my mother. This book really hit a cord with the walking your guests at to their cars to say goodbye. My family always did this and I didn't realize how important it was until other family members didn't do it. The author so aptly described this as a feeling of loneliness. The author learned so many things from her mothe ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The song “I Hope You Dance” was my mom’s song to her children, as eye-roll inducing as it was every time it came on the radio when we were growing up. So when I saw the title and subtitle of this book, I couldn’t help but want to read it.
The author's mother, affectionate called “Babe” was a fascinating woman who lived a long and full life. The lessons she bestowed on her daughter, including saying thank you and saying goodbye with more than just your words, are certainly tidbits of wisdom for a
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Jo Giese is an award-winning radio journalist, Amazon Bestselling author, former TV & radio reporter. As a special correspondent, she was part of the Peabody Award–winning team at Marketplace, the most popular business program in America. At Marketplace she won an EMMA for Exceptional Radio Story from the National Women’s Political Caucus and a GRACIE from the Foundation of American Women in Radio ...more

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