Reviews for “A Willful Child”

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Reviews for “A Willful Child”


Book Reviews for “A Willful Child”:

“Janet Holloway is not afraid to show the broken side of her life. She excels at pulling you in and pulling on your heart strings and you don’t ever want the stories to end. She captures place and dialogue and action with all her senses—an outstanding and profound story teller!”

~ Martha Layne Collins, Former Governor, Commonwealth of KY

“Painful, warm and wise, Janet Steele Holloway’s debut memoir, A Willful Child, vividly portrays a remarkable yet ordinary family whose life is more typical of post-war America than we’d like to think. At the mercy of an unstable, beautiful mother and a coal miner father in the boom-and-bust mountain economy, Holloway’s childhood is spent on the move from coal camp, to her granny’s beer garden, to a farm in southwest Virginia, to both coasts of Florida, and back to the mountains. Billie Brown, her pragmatic bootlegging granny, supplies rootedness, but cannot assuage her own daughter’s restless discontent or shore up the headstrong streak that will become her granddaughter’s greatest strength. A Willful Child shows us how a girl-becoming-a-woman gathers courage, confidence, and wisdom to weave a self from the pieces and places of a fragmented life.”

– Leatha Kendrick, author of Second Opinion

“Janet Steele Holloway’s debut is as dazzling as the West Virginia countryside she describes. Her father a hardworking coalminer, her granny an unrepentant bootlegger, Holloway remembers a childhood grasping at the shards of a shattered family. She emerges as a young woman ready for anything. This memoir is poignant, brutal, funny, inspired.”

– Neil Chethik, author of FatherLoss

“This gripping story speaks for many Appalachian women and children who broke away from mountain culture to live a life of promise and success and never forgot their mountain heritage. Janet Holloway tells an engaging story of a bright child caught in the ruins of her parents’ marriage and her determination to create a productive, creative life for herself.”

– Jane Stephenson, founder of New Opportunity School for Women; Author, Courageous Paths: Stories of Nine Appalachian Women

“I’m so excited over your book, and so pleased for you that you got it published. I began reading Willful Child after supper Thanksgiving evening, and finished it before noon the next day. (A record for me. Few books draw me in like yours did.) It’s one of the most moving books I’ve read in recent years. It carried me along like a leaf on a mountain stream and I was wanting more when it ended. What a ride! You introduced me to a world fairly unknown to me and I feel that I’m a more compassionate person for having read your story. Powerful. Understated. Moving. Thanks again for writing your book—and sharing your painful story.”

~ Don Lichtenfelt, author of Goodbye Lake Huron

“What an amazing story! I loved this book and recommend it highly to anyone who needs a quick dose of “will.”

– Liz Cornish, author, Pass It On; Hit The Ground Running

“I bought A Willful Child at a women’s event and was able to read it start to finish on my 2 plane trips home. When you get the book, set aside a day to do nothing but READ. You will not want to put this book down. Janet has a way with words that just draws you in and keeps you captivated. Excellent, excellent read! Go get your copy now if you don’t own one!”

– Kim Hodous, author, Show Up, Be Bold, Go Big

“A touching story of a child being caught in the web of her parents’ dysfunctional relationship. Her survival and success are a testimony to the human spirit. The words on the page made this reader feel the pain and conflict of the author who loved and hated her mother at the same time.”

~ Cindy Harpring


“[The book] was not only impossible to put down, your insights were beyond perceptive . . . they were very familiar, in some cases painfully familiar. The setting was unquestionably unique but the people and passions are universal. I am eager to read the sequel.”

~ Len Press, Founder, KET

“This is the best memoir I’ve read in ages. Both humorous and poignant, the story tells of a difficult childhood and how a willful and creative child managed to not only survive but excel in spite of the obstacles. Great read!”

~ Linda Hale

“I downloaded your book and started reading it immediately. I love it! Congratulations and lots of love.”

~ Ron Portante

“I’ve been reading A Willful Child and can’t put it down! It’s beautifully written, and it really resonates with me.”

~ Jean Welch

“ . . . a fascinating account of your early life. Sometimes when you, read a book, you slow down reading near the finish because you just don’t want it to end. That’s how I felt about this book . . . I could have kept on reading and reading! [It’s] an amazing story of courage and determination . . . I hope I will be privileged to read more of your writing in the future.”

~ Donniej2010

“I started reading your book last night and I am really enjoying it. Your grandmother is a character!”

~ Louanne Cooper, Vice President, US Bank

“An evocative memoir of a traumatic childhood, this well-crafted book brings to life the rural West Virginia coal town hardscrabble life in the 1950’s. Ruthlessly shuttled between battling parents, this coming of age story vividly describes the journey from willful child to successful businesswoman. I hope Ms. Holloway is busy writing The Willful Child Grows Up so we can learn more about how she made the transition.”

~ Kathleen Imhoff, artist/photographer

“From highlighting business professionals making a difference in the Bluegrass to entrepreneurial challenges and successes experienced on a national level, Janet Holloway has amassed an impressive collection of published articles as well as her recent memoir. Janet offers a unique writing style, combining successful interviewing techniques to delve deep into the heart and spirit of those she interviews as well as capturing the newsworthy aspects of their backgrounds.”

~ Julie McEwen, Owner, McEwen Creative

“Touching memoirs covering the childhood years in the West Virginia mountains . . . a child not understanding the out of kilter relationships with her mother, but feeling the strength and love of a grandmother, who will do what it takes to keep a family together . . . be it via bootlegging or other means. A childhood that is spent in many places, as a willful mother is taking her children to where she thinks happiness is to be found. A wonderful read tom see and understand what makes this child willful, and how that quality makes her take decisive steps while growing up, and what eventually helps her move on. I cried.”

~ Helene Steene

“Janet, I am reading the book now—just a few chapters in—I love your “voice.” Very honest and engaging, and I’m anxious to see where your life story goes. From an aspiring writer to one who has taken the plunge—keep up the good work. I hope you’ve got more books to come!”

~ Wendy Becker, Partner, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

“I enjoyed this honest, realistic and passionate book. The author writes with clarity and emotion. Hope the author writes more . . . ”

~ Gloria B. Rie, former council member of LFCUG (Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government)

“An evocative memoir of a traumatic childhood, this well crafted book brings to life the rural West Virginia coal town hardscrabble life in the 1950’s. Ruthlessly shuttled between battling parents, this coming of age story vividly describes the journey from willful child to successful businesswoman. I hope Ms. Holloway is busy writing The Willful Child Grows Up so we can learn more about how she made the transition.”

~ Bridgett the Cat