The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
How my mother raised 10 kids on 25 words or less

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Synopsis

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the "contest era" of the 1950s and 1960s.
Stepping back into a time when fledgling advertising agencies were active partners with consumers, and everyday people saw possibility in every coupon, Terry Ryan tells how her mother kept the family afloat by writing jingles and contest entries. Mom's winning ways defied the Church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated views of housewives. To her, flouting convention was a small price to pay when it came to securing a happy home for her six sons and four daughters. Evelyn, who would surely be a Madison Avenue executive if she were working today, composed her jingles not in the boardroom, but at the ironing board.
By entering contests wherever she found them -- TV, radio, newspapers, direct-mail ads -- Evelyn Ryan was able to win every appliance her family ever owned, not to mention cars, television sets, bicycles, watches, a jukebox, and even trips to New York, Dallas, and Switzerland. But it wasn't just the winning that was miraculous; it was the timing. If a toaster died, one was sure to arrive in the mail from a forgotten contest. Days after the bank called in the second mortgage on the house, a call came from the Dr Pepper company: Evelyn was the grand-prize winner in its national contest -- and had won enough to pay the bank.
Graced with a rare appreciation for life's inherent hilarity, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for fun and profit. From her frenetic supermarket shopping spree -- worth $3,000 today -- to her clever entries worthy of Erma Bombeck, Dorothy Parker, and Ogden Nash, the story of this irrepressible woman whose talents reached far beyond her formidable verbal skills is told in The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit will triumph over the poverty of circumstance.
 

About Terry Ryan

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Terry Ryan, the sixth of Evelyn Ryan's ten children, was a consultant on the film adaptation of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. She lives in San Francisco, California. Suze Orman is the author of three consecutive New York Times bestsellers, The Road to Wealth, The Courage to Be Rich, and The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, and the national bestseller You've Earned It, Don't Lose It. She is the personal finance editor on CNBC and the host of The Suze Orman Show, a national CNBC-TV show that airs every weekend. She is also a contributing editor to O The Oprah Magazine. Suze wrote, coproduced, and hosted three PBS pledge shows based on her bestselling books, which are among the most successful fundraisers in the history of public television. A new PBS special based on The Laws of Money, the Lessons of Life premieres in 2003. Suze has also been called a "one-woman financial-advice powerhouse" by USA Today. In 1999, she was named by Smart Money magazine to its list of the top thirty powerbrokers in the United States. Suze was recently selected as one of five distinguished recipients of the prestigious 2002 TJFR Group Business News Luminaries Award, which honors lifetime achievement in business journalism. In 2003, she was inducted into the Books for a Better Life Awards' Hall of Fame in recognition of her ongoing contributions to self-improvement. She was also profiled in Worth magazine's 100th issue as among those "who have revolutionized the way America thinks about money." Suze's popular web site, SuzeOrman.com, features, among other valuable financial information, her monthly e-newsletter.
 
Published April 2, 2002 by Simon & Schuster. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Religion & Spirituality, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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An uplifting tale of domestic martyrdom, told with a remarkable lack of self-pity, that forces us to put our own sorrows into perspective.

Apr 04 2001 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Kirkus Reviews

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(Ryan cites some of her mother’s epigrams, which sing the praises of Pepsodent, Sealy, and Paper Mate, throughout her fast-paced narrative.) Evelyn made researching contests part of her daily routine and managed to win pretty much anything the family needed—including money for health insurance.

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The New York Times

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As you watch Evelyn endure Kelly's rages, sulks and such outrageously irresponsible acts as taking out a second mortgage on the Ryan home without telling her, you admire her ability to deflect his fury with her sweetness and her courage to confront him when necessary without flying into a fury.

Sep 30 2005 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Book Reporter

There were as many ways to support those families as there were children in those families, but no one I ever knew had a more novel approach than Terry Ryan's unbelievably resilient and resourceful mom, Evelyn Ryan, who spent the better part of her life as a mom to ten rather incorrigible kids pu...

Apr 04 2001 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Los Angeles Times

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Evelyn Ryan - Julianne Moore Kelly Ryan - Woody Harrelson Dortha - Laura Dern Tuff Ryan - Ellary Porterfield

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AV Club

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Capturing the way fear can transform a few feet into an impassable chasm, an early scene in The Prize Winner Of Defiance, Ohio illustrates the unspoken boundaries of the crowded Ohio home that serves as its primary setting.

Sep 28 2005 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

PopMatters

Kelly is horrified, the kids (who are always everywhere in the frame) are frightened, and mother, her wrists bloodied by her effort to break her fall into shards of milk bottle glass, struggles to get to her feet amid the slippery red and white liquid that swirls around her.

Oct 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Common Sense Media

Evelyn rarely reveals the toll Kelly's problems take on her, and then, usually, to instruct her children in the value of optimism.

Mar 12 2006 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

People

To furnish the house with the prizes—everything from frying pans to a Triumph TR3 sports car—she won in hundreds of jingle-writing contests for products like Lipton soup ("Seasoned right for season-round zest/ Cents and minutes are all you invest") and Lucky Strike cigarettes ("Send me laundry, s...

Apr 23 2001 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Austin Chronicle

Add the wealth of excellent anecdotes churned out by any large family, and this memoir by Terry Ryan, the sixth of Evelyn Ryan's brood, is engrossing as well as funny and touching: the curiously stirring tale of a merry heart.

May 18 2001 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Nashville Public Library

Author Terry Ryan takes a nostalgic, touching look at her 10 children family growing up in northwest Ohio in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and in particular she focuses on her mother, Evelyn Ryan.

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

Feb 18 2013 | Read Full Review of The Prize Winner of Defiance,...

Reader Rating for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
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