That's How it Was


Loved it! 😍

Sweet and heartwarming, you read this book from start to finish with a smile on your face. I can't say anything about your young'ins though.

That's How It Is Was is a story of one year of a boy's childhood. Narrated in epistolary style to his future family, the story takes us through how the boy's various dreams for the future and his adventures on the farm in the country with his family and his observations about life in between.

The story is, quite simply, sweet, and I loved a lot of it.

First, country life is presented as such an idyllic place where fun and adventure and mischievous shenanigans and family and so on wait in just about every corner. The boy, away from town life, is never bored on the farm. He finds things to do and he has a vivid imagination. 

His imagination is fun to get into and poke around in, and nowhere is this more clear than in when the boy is talking about what he wants to be in future. He has not decided yet,even though everyone around him seems sure on his behalf, and so it is very interesting seeing how he considers that he could be different things, no matter how whimsical. It is so hopeful and so full of life and childlike wonder, and, in this increasingly unpredictable and sad world, this is such a nice thing to read.

Another thing. When I read the story, I felt drawn in, accompanying the characters as they did their thing, and I think that, though this is the point of every story, not everyone really achieves it, and that is great for this story. I didn't think of all this as I read though. I was just happy to watch Randy Ray and his folks do their thing.

If there's anything I will say against the story for the point of critique, it is that the simple tone of the story is interrupted in some places by a too-big word. Words that you will ordinarily not expect a country bumpkin middle schooler to use in his writing. They were a bit jarring. But it's a chance for children to learn new words for their vocabulary I guess.

Also, some may be a bit piqued about how easily a character got away with lying to her entire family, but I guess that's a personal thing I think.

All in all, this story is like chocolate cake. Sweet. Sometimes overly so, but ultimately satisfying. You'll enjoy it.

Reviewed by

Hello. My name is Precious Oluwatobi Emmanuel.

I am 21 years old, and passionate about books generally and fiction in particular.

I enjoy reading. I write too, and I like dark rooms. They're so peaceful. And dark. And peaceful.

I live in Kano, Nigeria with my mom and siblings


That's How It Was is a funny, light, easy-to-read, nostalgic look back at growing up on a farm in the mid-west. It's meant to be a children's book, but can be enjoyed at any age.

About the author

So, what does a part Hispanic, part Native American woman know about growing up on a farm in the predominantly German and Scandinavian mid-west? Simply put . . . I married into it. Over the years I've listened to my husband and his cousin talk about their mischievous escapades. My inspiration. view profile

Published on August 07, 2020

3000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Children's

Reviewed by