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You Can Take The Girl Out Of Chicago

With a series of brief sketches, the author pieces together her mid-twentieth century experiences, beginning with her first day of school and ending with her marriage, that add up to a memorable, somewhat turbulent coming-of age-story. The feeling of being a misfit in the middle-class neighborhood of South Shore Chicago was ever present. Only with her mother’s much younger sister Florence, did she feel a sense of belonging. Happily, several of the stories focus on her witty, opinionated, progressive, always supportive “Aunt Flo.” When Dottie loses her aunt’s five-dollar-bill (a week’s worth of groceries) she is met with only a hug and a kiss. When she threatens to “run away from home forever” it is Flo who offers her wisdom and a warm bed.

The memoir takes Sinclair out of the midwest and into the worlds of theatre and literature in New York, St. Louis, and eventually Los Angeles. Along the way, she is guilty of some unabashed name-dropping, and risque confessions, making this an all-too delicious, often funny read.

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Candid and Poignant Work Wonders in Sinclair Memoir!
By Jack Ong

It is my pleasure to know Dorothy Sinclair as a consummate actress, performing partner, and fun raconteur. Now she is also an author with “You Can Take The Girl Out of Chicago: Tales of My Wayward Youth,” a volume of life stories and a poignant, informative reading experience that evokes a very special age and time in America. It is in turn fun and funny, exciting and sad…and always interesting! The “wayward” parts are candid and often shocking.

Sinclair’s memoirs make up a rich blend of vivid storytelling, populated with well defined characters (including many a famous one) who figure in the kiss-and-tell portions of the author’s accounts…tales of a Jewish American girl’s coming of age in the Depression era, her hopes for love and stardom ever possible, while always in conflict with her “old-fashioned” parents’ values and wishes.

Once you begin reading this book, it’s truly difficult to put down!

A Liberated Woman
By History Major

In “You Can Take the Girl Out of Chicago … ” Dorothy Sinclair tells the true story of how she fought for freedom throughout her life, and did not overcome societal pressures until one great epiphany provided the answer. She did not have to live her life through a husband, lover, or anyone. She was complete and could do as she pleased. It is a fascinating journey. Buy this book and think hard about where you are in life. Would you have had the courage to do as she did?

A Wonderful Memoir
By Michele Wallerstein Weiss

I sat down to read some of this book and didn’t get up again until I had finished the whole book. Dorothy Sinclair opened doors for me about my own youth and what it was like for girls and women from the 1930’s-1960’s. Ms Sinclair tells the story in a wonderfully chatty fashion that was warm and funny as well as so very poignant. This book is a treasure that all women must read.

More Then Just Entertaining
By valleyrose

You Can take the Girl Out of Chicago…: Tales of My Wayward Youth, is a book I couldn’t put down. Sinclair has a wonderful way of expressing her candid thoughts as a girl and young woman. I loved the episode of her losing the five dollars reluctantly entrusted to her in the depression era. It made me recall a similar episode in my young life…Sinclair’s desire to go to New York, meet exciting people and do exciting things is what drives the story. The reader is wondering how she will get from point A to point B and if she will ever find what she’s looking for. I found myself thinking, “No don’t do that,” and hoping she would. Please read the book to find out. Plenty of noteworthy people and adventure in this real life story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this enchanting book!
By Mark

A well told and captivating story which reveals the struggles faced by a young woman pursuing her dream of an acting career during the mid decades of the 20th century. The author’s candor and humor in narrating her life’s experiences made for a book I couldn’t put down. Ms Sinclair is a spirited woman who was way ahead of her times. I am hoping she writes a book on her next life’s chapter!

Amazing Adventure
By Maven

Although written about an earlier time than I was familiar with, this book was a big surprise. The author had an amazing life as a child and young adult which made for quite an adventure — even if you didn’t know any of the real-life characters in the stories. Very well written and quite entertaining to read, I really enjoyed the ride.

I appreciated the detail and courage to see a life revealed!
ByAnn Hearn

I most enjoyed the journey back in time with an authentic view of life during the Depression, War Time, and after. Dorothy’s generation is near the same as my parents, and the stories you get are ones you most likely never get from parents! It’s like a window opening into their secret world, of what was permitted, what was not and where the boundaries blurred. Personal and private, like being given permission to read someone’s secret letters, we are let into a world of childhood perspective, rebellion, naughtiness, spirit and passion, curiosity and bravery. I appreciated the detail and courage to see a life revealed, the good and bad, and ultimately the perseverance of soul and self.

The Promise At The Dairy Queen

The Promise At The Dairy Queen

Chicago, 1949. She was a 24 year-old college graduate hoping for a career as an actress while waiting for Mr. Right. He was 35, 5’10”, a medical student, handsome and smart. Soon he would leave for his internship in Brooklyn, but he didn’t want to go alone. They met, and Bam! He was exactly what she’d been waiting for. “Now I know why Mama, Taught me to be true. She meant me for someone, Exactly Like You”. It was a perfect match. Or was it?

“It doesn’t take long to realize that ‘The Promise at the Dairy Queen’ is more a commitment to self than any bond made with another human being. Although Dorothy’s memoirs take place firmly in an era of change, they come from the spirit of a girl-becomes-woman who’s inner self is stronger than the definition of the times in which she lives. Hers is an inspirational story of identity vs social and family expectations. Dorothy is a double swirl with toppings in a special cone and reading her is just as satisfying.” – Lynn Rosen-Bright, Poet, Playwright.

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I loved this book, loved the writing.
by Elaine Schulman, PhD 

The book captures a time in history when women were raised to be wives, to please their man.  The main character in The Promise at the Dairy Queen is torn between running off to New York to be an actress or marrying the handsome medical student.   In 1950 there was really only one “right” choice: being a wife.  Then a mother.  Making a beautiful home for your husband to come home to.  With a hot meal ready for him after his long day at work.  

If Dorothy, the writer of this wonderful memoir, had been born just ten years later, she’d have been able to escape her predestined role.  Her intelligence and talent would have won out over the set expectations of her times.  When on her honeymoon, her husband replies to her musings that she might pursue an acting career one or two days a week: “you promised me you’d put all that behind you.”   And she knows she’s reached “the point of no return” and answers: “of course I’ve put all that behind me.”  

Being a good wife is in her DNA.  It’s what you do.  Women in their 20’s and 30’s now will read this and think, why didn’t she just say “NO!”  
Dorothy captures the essence of that impossibility in this humorous and beautifully written memoir.  She didn’t say no because she couldn’t say no – that wasn’t one of the choices.

I loved this memoir for it’s truth, humor, and just plain grit.
by JoAnn Summers

After reading this heart felt memoir of married life starting in 1949, you will know to absolutely never make promises you can’t keep in front of a Dairy Queen. You will also get an education about the culture and its expectations during the fifties in America. Dorothy makes her promise to the demands of  her ideal, doctor to be, husband. Her promise to forsake any interest in acting and the theater will haunt her, but she felt she was “on thin ice”,  and promised what he wanted to hear.

The reader will follow Dorothy’s tale through the first apartment from hell, to child birth, to endless dinners for their professional friends, to her shock that all is not well with her marriage. Breaking that early promise, she starts her career in the theater by taking small steps.  Readers will cheer as Dorothy creates character studies and demands to be paid as a professional. She gets a master’s degree in theater arts and becomes the success she is meant to be.

I loved this memoir for it’s truth, humor, and just plain grit. Cheers to Dorothy Sinclair.

You only have one life to live.
by Gerald Lane Summers

Dorothy Sinclair, an accomplished Hollywood and dramatic actress, tells this story as a sequel to her earlier book, “You Can Take The Girl Out of Chicago.”  Her early life story of growing up in the 1930s -40s in Chicago, was fascinating, but she never truly discussed her  marriage and the direction it took.  She rises to the occasion now, telling of her marriage to a doctor, as her family had always wished,  and suppressing her artistic ambitions when her husband demanded that she give them up.  When he confronted her at the Dairy Queen, she realized she was not then ready to deny him; thus “The Promise … ”  It was a sell out that came close to crushing her soul, but after rising to the occasion, bearing two children, and doing her duty as society demanded, she discovered his philandering.  What followed was an education in the arts and the fulfillment of her dreams.  There is a moral here for all young women under the thumb of an oppressive husband of the old school.  Do what you must to make your life worthy of your talents.  To hell with those who would control your every move.  You only have one life to live.

An inspirational story of identity vs social and family expectations
by Lynn Rose-Bright

Although Dorothy’s memoirs take place firmly in an era of change, they come from the spirit of a girl-becomes-woman whose inner self is stronger than the definition of the times in which she lives…an inspirational story of identity vs social and family expectations. Dorothy is a double swirl with toppings in a special cone and reading her is just as satisfying.

I love that special kernel of truth that is the title
by Maria Spasoff

What a wonderful undertaking to write so truthfully, engaglingly and well about your own life…besides being a terrific read, I so appreciate getting to “know” you in this way…I love that special kernel of truth that is the title. I was also struck throughout it while I was running parallel in my head about my own mother’s life.