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You Fall Off, You Get Back On: A Patchwork Memoir

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An unusual and just plain joyful memoir that is part Annie Oakley, part Erma Bombeck and 100% original. Rocky Mountain writer Stobie terms her work a “patchwork memoir.” Patchwork it is—breezy and wide-ranging personal essays and columns deftly woven into a funny and cohesive fabric. Stobie’s surprising experiences include stints as a young rodeo champion and a Hollywood i An unusual and just plain joyful memoir that is part Annie Oakley, part Erma Bombeck and 100% original. Rocky Mountain writer Stobie terms her work a “patchwork memoir.” Patchwork it is—breezy and wide-ranging personal essays and columns deftly woven into a funny and cohesive fabric. Stobie’s surprising experiences include stints as a young rodeo champion and a Hollywood ingénue. Unexpected encounters with Hollywood A-listers like Warren Beatty and Clint Eastwood colored those years before she settled into the writing and family life back on the Colorado range. “Settled,” though, as readers will discover, isn’t quite what Mary Stobie is about. Wherever she lives, for Stobie every day is an adventure (or misadventure), and every escapade a great excuse for a joke and even a life lesson or two. Early readers love this book; Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News described it as an extraordinarily fun read, and Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News says Mary Stobie is a gal you want to meet. Or at least read, in this wide-ranging, upbeat collection of personal and revealing essays. You Fall Off, You Get Back On is a reading treat for anyone who appreciates the Rocky Mountains, enjoys an honest and loving life story well-told, and loves a good laugh.


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An unusual and just plain joyful memoir that is part Annie Oakley, part Erma Bombeck and 100% original. Rocky Mountain writer Stobie terms her work a “patchwork memoir.” Patchwork it is—breezy and wide-ranging personal essays and columns deftly woven into a funny and cohesive fabric. Stobie’s surprising experiences include stints as a young rodeo champion and a Hollywood i An unusual and just plain joyful memoir that is part Annie Oakley, part Erma Bombeck and 100% original. Rocky Mountain writer Stobie terms her work a “patchwork memoir.” Patchwork it is—breezy and wide-ranging personal essays and columns deftly woven into a funny and cohesive fabric. Stobie’s surprising experiences include stints as a young rodeo champion and a Hollywood ingénue. Unexpected encounters with Hollywood A-listers like Warren Beatty and Clint Eastwood colored those years before she settled into the writing and family life back on the Colorado range. “Settled,” though, as readers will discover, isn’t quite what Mary Stobie is about. Wherever she lives, for Stobie every day is an adventure (or misadventure), and every escapade a great excuse for a joke and even a life lesson or two. Early readers love this book; Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News described it as an extraordinarily fun read, and Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Daily News says Mary Stobie is a gal you want to meet. Or at least read, in this wide-ranging, upbeat collection of personal and revealing essays. You Fall Off, You Get Back On is a reading treat for anyone who appreciates the Rocky Mountains, enjoys an honest and loving life story well-told, and loves a good laugh.

46 review for You Fall Off, You Get Back On: A Patchwork Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bruce McDonald

    I really liked it. I know Mary, and she is a delightfully warm and funny person, with surprising depth and a bright spirit. Her book is just the same. I recommend it highly. It is a collection of stories with an intermittent set of common threads and wow, what a great quilting job putting stories together! The memoir covers a rich and wide-ranging life from wrangling cattle and photographing rodeos to the glamour (and grit) of Hollywood. In between there are quite a few everyday insights on peop I really liked it. I know Mary, and she is a delightfully warm and funny person, with surprising depth and a bright spirit. Her book is just the same. I recommend it highly. It is a collection of stories with an intermittent set of common threads and wow, what a great quilting job putting stories together! The memoir covers a rich and wide-ranging life from wrangling cattle and photographing rodeos to the glamour (and grit) of Hollywood. In between there are quite a few everyday insights on people and places. Written with a deep sensitivity and understanding of human nature, Mary's story ties together a young girl's dreams, an adventurer's spirit, a mother's love, and a pioneer's determination to prevail. There is pathos in learning of a loved one's terrible injury in Afghanistan, right next to a cheerful chapter featuring her husband as a watermelon hoarder. You Fall Off, You Get Back On is a heartwarmer.

  2. 4 out of 5

    M. P.

    I'm one of the First Reads winners of this book. I can hardly wait to receive it! EDIT: This is definitely one of those feel good books that leave the reader with a warm feeling and a sweet aftertaste. When I first took part in the giveaway for this book, it was for her past as a rodeo rider. I love horses, but have never had the good fortune to enjoy rodeo, largely due to my national background. While I may not have been left feeling particularly inspired to take more risks in life, I did feel a f I'm one of the First Reads winners of this book. I can hardly wait to receive it! EDIT: This is definitely one of those feel good books that leave the reader with a warm feeling and a sweet aftertaste. When I first took part in the giveaway for this book, it was for her past as a rodeo rider. I love horses, but have never had the good fortune to enjoy rodeo, largely due to my national background. While I may not have been left feeling particularly inspired to take more risks in life, I did feel a form of admiration towards Stobie and the things she's dared herself to do throughout her life. Though the memoir can be powered through in an extremely fast fashion (made ironic by the very last entry centering around the theme of slowing down and savoring the people and moments in your life), it gives the reader a pretty good idea just how eventful the author's life has been, from her first riding lessons at age three to the present day. The book tells of Stobie's life in a series of columns, many of which have previously been published in Colorado Community Media newspapers, The Canyon Courier, and the like, so in that sense, the memoir also doubles as a compilation work of her columns. Initially I found the format delighting, but at the end of the read I must admit it did end up having its cons. While the columns are, due to their short length, very approachable (even to those who aren't particularly passionate readers, I would imagine), they tend to create a sensation that I can only describe as "a pause". You read a couple of pages, pause, you read another, pause again. A constant flow of headlines breaking the fluidity. Having the memoir divided into so many short parts makes the less interesting or even slightly disagreeable parts stand out more than if there had been only a few longer chapters, which lowers the overall enjoyment of the book. Of course, it also means the especially enjoyable bits stand out - but those parts would stand out in a book either way. That is one bit of criticism I have of the format. Either way, there is no doubt Stobie is a great writer. The ending half of her memoir, especially, convinced me, and I truly enjoyed the way she worded some of her observations of her environment. Or perhaps her very down-to-earth sense of humour simply finally made a breakthrough at that point? Speaking of the humour in the book, I really appreciated how it didn't feel forced. That's just something I wanted to say, as far too often I am left feeling a columnist tried too hard to be funny, and the jokes just end up falling flat on their faces. I didn't think Stobie had this problem, her humour was mostly well-placed and natural. A quick, but fun read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    When I taught Creative Writing I would require my students to interview a grandparent (or someone of their grandparent's generation) and persuade them to tell their life stories. Many young people came back to me saying their grandparents told them they didn't have any stories of their lives. I informed my students that anyone who had reached the age of 2 had stories, and they just had to ask the right questions. All of them eventually figured out what those questions were for their own grandpar When I taught Creative Writing I would require my students to interview a grandparent (or someone of their grandparent's generation) and persuade them to tell their life stories. Many young people came back to me saying their grandparents told them they didn't have any stories of their lives. I informed my students that anyone who had reached the age of 2 had stories, and they just had to ask the right questions. All of them eventually figured out what those questions were for their own grandparents. Too bad I didn't know Mary Stobie when I was teaching. I would have asked her into my classroom as a visiting artist and encouraged her just to tell my budding young writers some of her stories. I suspect we would have invited her back many times, and she still would not have been finished. Some people are born story tellers, others are not, but all people have stories inside them. That is what life itself is. A series of stories. Even the sad and angry moments of our lives become stories as soon as they become history. Mary Stobie is one of those who not only has stories, but was also born a story teller. This book is about that. And before it was published, she was already filling a folder with material for a repeat volume in a few years. These are Mary's stories of her childhood, her youth and her young adult years. They are full of horses and parents, movie stars and accidents. They will remind older people of their own growing up years, younger people that life is full of unexpected adventures and twists and turn. All readers will be reminded that life NEVER ends up the way it started. Does Mary still own a horse? still compete in the rodeo? is her life still associated with movie making and hollywood stars? No. She's a wife and grandmother, a member of a book club, a lover of good breakfasts and allergic to wheat and dairy. She's you and me. Did she expect to end up as an ordinary person? I suspect she was always too busy to think about it. But then, Mary Stobie is not an ordinary person. Not only does her life give her stories, she knows how to tell those stories and more importantly she knows how to write. She will make even the young nostalgic, come to tears and sit alone and laugh out loud. If ordinary people could do all that, we wouldn't need books. But thank God we do! Great, fun read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Walter

    If there is an American born and bred gal who most beautifully exemplifies that special verve, curiosity, independence, imagination, and fearlessness that we associate with the finest women in our great American West, my vote would be for Mary Stobie, author of her delightful “patchwork memoir,” You Fall Off, You Get Back On. Mary’s book is composed of a series of adventures drawn from her own remarkable life. She is a modern-day cowgirl who refuses to confine herself to the fenced in spaces of If there is an American born and bred gal who most beautifully exemplifies that special verve, curiosity, independence, imagination, and fearlessness that we associate with the finest women in our great American West, my vote would be for Mary Stobie, author of her delightful “patchwork memoir,” You Fall Off, You Get Back On. Mary’s book is composed of a series of adventures drawn from her own remarkable life. She is a modern-day cowgirl who refuses to confine herself to the fenced in spaces of what a woman should be. From taking us along to her first competitions in rodeos where she began barrel racing as a girl, to recounting her adventures in Hollywood during its second “Golden Era” as she worked with some of cinema’s storied leading men and great character actors, or taking us with her as she literally climbs mountains for Clint Eastwood, Mary’s exuberance and joy in experiencing all that life can offer infuses every page. But it isn’t just the glamorous or thrilling that she writes about; she gives as much attention and charm to the “ordinary” adventures of life – as a mom, wife, chauffeur to kids, or having running battles with her unruly hair. As any true writer and connoisseur of life will do, no moment, activity or aspect of her life plays a “minor” role. It’s all part of the fabric of being alive in this time and place called America. I give my own book award to Mary Stobie for being a courageous human and a delightful woman that any man or woman would love to have as a friend. Fortunately for us, through riding on the highway of life with Mary in You Fall Off, You Get Back On, we get to spend time with this wonderful lady and become “best buds.” Treat yourself!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lily Ribeiro

    This book gave me the warm fuzzies. I just sat down by the fire with a big bowl of sunflower seeds and read the whole thing, start to finish.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bryce Van Vleet

    You Fall Off, You Get Back On is a charming memoir by former Rocky Mountain Columnist Mary Stobie. A collection of her best columns and essays, Stobie's memoir is a bit disjointed as a collection, and never really seems to make much ground. While her work is funny and full of unique perspectives of a true rural-fringe Denverite, her amateur hand shows. Not that this should be all that surprising or annoying, her book is small market, and blissfully non-pretentious. I walked away from my readin You Fall Off, You Get Back On is a charming memoir by former Rocky Mountain Columnist Mary Stobie. A collection of her best columns and essays, Stobie's memoir is a bit disjointed as a collection, and never really seems to make much ground. While her work is funny and full of unique perspectives of a true rural-fringe Denverite, her amateur hand shows. Not that this should be all that surprising or annoying, her book is small market, and blissfully non-pretentious. I walked away from my reading feeling a lovely sort of connection with Stobie, even if it was a bit shallow. If you're a Denver native, or have fond memories of the Rocky Mountain Post, as I do, feel free to give this a read! You may just reclaim a bit of the old small-town feeling Denver.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stormy

    Enjoyed the memoir writings of a friend. Great to revisit scenes of the past through her eyes and remember my own trip into the past. Easy to read and laugh with.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A fun read about a woman that puts herself out there to experience the unexpected. Sparks memories of my teen years and the area around Lakewood/Golden Colorado and the sentinel mesas west of town.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Stobie

    Well of course I love it because I'm the author. Now people are telling me they love it too. Annie Oakley meets Erma Bombeck. Not to be missed. Well of course I love it because I'm the author. Now people are telling me they love it too. Annie Oakley meets Erma Bombeck. Not to be missed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    James Lynam

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patty

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue Mitchell

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine S. Payne

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber MacPherson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thanuja Loganathan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lexine

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lilo

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  23. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

  25. 4 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joy Cipoletti

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Harris

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Loiselle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka M

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  31. 5 out of 5

    Shana M. Essig

  32. 5 out of 5

    MICHAEL BARTON

  33. 4 out of 5

    J

  34. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Fantom

  35. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  36. 4 out of 5

    LLL Reads

  37. 4 out of 5

    Claire

  38. 4 out of 5

    Cal Littlehales

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

  40. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

  41. 5 out of 5

    Pam

  42. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Cole Marie Mckinnon

  43. 5 out of 5

    Diren

  44. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  46. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

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