Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson pens the "Ask Amy" advice column, syndicated by Tribune Media Services in over 200 newspapers nationwide. She joined the Chicago Tribune in July 2003 as the newspaper's signature general advice columnist, succeeding the legendary Ann Landers. A distant relative of the poet Emily Dickinson, she has previously written for Time, was a columnist for AOL's News Channel during the early days of the Internet, and has appeared as a social commentator on CBS Sunday Morning. She is also a frequent contributor to NPR programs.

Dickinson's motto as an advice columnist is "I make the mistakes so you don't have to." In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Dickinson takes those mistakes and spins them into a remarkable story. This is the tale of a single mother and her daughter, and the women in their family who helped raise them. Though they live in London, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, all roads lead them back to her original hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny upstate village where Dickinson's family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years.

Most important, though, her family has made more family there, and they all still live within a 10-house radius of each other. With kindness and razor-sharp wit, they welcome Dickinson and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.