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Old Maine Woman: Stories from the Coast to the County
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Old Maine Woman: Stories from the Coast to the County

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  70 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Glenna Johnson Smith writes with eloquence and humor about the complexities, absurdities, and pleasures of the everyday, from her nostalgic looks at her childhood on the Maine coast in the 1920s and 1930s, to her observations of life under the big sky and among the rolling potato fields of her beloved Aroostook County, where she has lived for nearly seven decades. The book ...more
Paperback, 161 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Islandport Press, Yarmouth ME (first published January 1st 2010)
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Susan Emmet
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Got this memoir at Gardiner Public Library. Great book! Don't know whether or not Ms. Smith still lives, but she certainly comes alive in her autobiography. Born in Hancock County, she moved with her then-husband to Aroostock County where they farmed and raised three sons. Her recounting (and acknowledgement at times of "I can't quite remember")of older times is just charming and truthful. Wonderful portraits of local folk done without condescension. Love the chapters entitled "Defense of Old Wo ...more
JoAnn Plante
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. My mom is 91 years old and she told me about some of the things mentioned in this book. We're not from Maine, but I guess it was the same everywhere back then. Although the writing is sometimes difficult to read, you get the point of the story. It is just a period piece from a time in our country, when many people didn't have a lot.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was an easy read without much thought provoking content. The writing is extremely unsophisticated but it did improve a bit toward the end. The most disappointing thing was that it didn't really feature Maine as a significant part of the narrative; it could have taken place anywhere.
James Fisher
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This collection of her essays and short fiction is fun and insightful to read. Her humour is endearing and in several stories, borders on the type of humour writing that Stephen Leacock became famous for. Compare "My Financial Career" from Literary Lapses with Ms. Smith's "I Live Alone- I Think". Many of her essays have to do with her reflections on everyday life, then and now, in her beloved Maine.
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: maine-books
This is a lovely collection of essays and recollections by a woman born on the Maine coast in 1920. She lives and writes in Presque Isle in northern Maine these days and is out actively promoting her book. I hope to catch her at a book signing.

Smith tells some great tales about her childhood and her time as a young teacher and parent in The County. Her essays offer humor and some gentle observations about her life in rural Maine.
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found myself chuckling, and then reflecting. What may be uniquely Maine in this book, is actually, to my mind, uniquely human. Such wonderful memories; such candor; such love of life. While I never would have picked this up myself, I am grateful that my book group decided to read it. I recommend this book for any who wish to view life from a simpler, more positive perspective.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pleasant read that may appeal to those who love Maine more than others. The author has a way with words and her upbeat, positive approach to life is engaging and refreshing. There isn't a lot of action as this is the author reflecting on her childhood, the beautiful state of Maine, her family/friends, and the process of aging in a society that seems to discard the 'old people' in it.
Elise Ozarowski
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Glenna has to be one of the most charming writers I've read in a while. If you're into nostalgia, or just want to read a book that'll sound like your grandmother wrote it (in a really good way), pick this one up. It's hilarious and surprisingly poignant. One of those books you can have fun reading and learn something along the way.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful collection of stories! You felt as though you were right there with Glenna experiencing life through her eyes. It brought back wonderful memories of Aroostook County and the simpler things in life. It was a special treat to get to see Glenna in Portland at her book-signing. She is so vibrant and full of life!
McArthur Library Staff Picks
This wonderful little book not only gave me glimpses of what life was like "before my time", but it showed this "middle-aged Maine woman" that life as an "old Maine woman" can be rich and rewarding! (As opposed to what our popular culture states!!)
Erin Brenner
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
These are sweet stories and essays of an earlier time in Maine. Great relaxing summer read.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It was a joy to read Glenna's stories. I could hear her voice and see her smile from my days as a former student at PIHS. I would love to sit and talk with her one day again.
Hilary MacLeod
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable essays about life on the coast in the early decades of the 20th century. A remarkable book for a woman in her 90s. Lucid, amusing, honest.
Bryan Mclellan
Quite the reminder of rural Maine, which made me miss home and my people. I read one essay about receiving mail for other people out loud to my roommate, giggling the whole time. Wonderful stories.
Kathryn Joy
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
What delicious stories Ms. Smith writes - I also grew up in "the County" - her writing brought back many memories. I highly recommend this book to any reader.
May 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed with this book, actually found it boring.
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Glenna Johnson Smith was born in 1920 in Ashville, Maine, in coastal Hancock County. In 1941, she graduated from the University of Maine, married, and moved to a farm in Easton, in Maine's Aroostook County. A teacher for many years, she also was heavily involved in school and community theater productions. Her writing has appeared in Echoes and Yankee magazines and other publications. She now live ...more