Pagoda Dreamer by Judith March Davis

Pagoda Dreamer

Author: Judith March Davis

ISBN: 9781934938904

Publisher: Langdon Street Press

A biography told by the daughter of poet and writer Dorothy Rowe in the author’s and her mother’s own words. Letters written by Dorothy Rowe a woman so enthralled with China and its history from an early age, helped the reader get to know and understand the history of that nation. Living in China and then becoming educated in America her daughter tells an inspiring story of a woman who looked at life with a much different perspective than we would. Understanding and living her life in an Asian country, she learned to understand and embrace the culture and soon became assimilated within it and its culture.

The author painted a picture of China so vividly that you can see the many places that Dorothy visited and lived in. She published her poetry in magazines and was fortunate that McMillan published her four books for children. Each of her letters was so honest and truthful. Reading each one enabled the reader to get to know and understand the writer and her mother’s amazing story.

When her life would settle into mundane routines she became restless and longed for a vacation, shopping spree or a change. Trying to reconcile her differences with her husband and learning to be a parent caused many conflicts for Dorothy within herself.  Dorothy’s emotions and reactions to situations often set the stage for major changes in her life. Moving to different places throughout her marriage she became disconnected from her friends and family except for her sister Lurry. She was able to confide in her sister and they often spent time together in New York and other places in order for Dorothy to regroup and be able to handle her life when she returned.

Benjamin March, her husband, was an expert on Asian Art. He joined the staff of the University of Michigan and once again she moved to another home. This time she moved to Ann Arbor and after his death she joined the staff of the same University in their History of Art Department

A terrible bout with TB and learning that she had diabetes were major setbacks in her life causing her to remain in the hospital and rehabilitation for a very long time. She missed out on much of her daughter’s life. When she became ill and could no longer work she channeled her energies into helping those who were in the same ward with her and encouraged them with her courage, lack of defeat and sense of humor.

Dorothy Rowe March was a person that seemed unfulfilled throughout most of her life. She seemed to long for more and got bored easily with her life and her family responsibilities.

With many more tragedies to withstand and a daughter that endured many of her own, Dorothy’s life was not easy and many adjustments had to be made in order to accommodate the needs of others.

Although Dorothy tried her best to take care of her daughter and make her happy she often became annoyed, disgruntled and gave her the old silent treatment when things did not go her way. She even went as far as trying to make her daughter feel guilty for the hard work she put into making her meals and taking care of her, making herself out to be a martyr when Judith was recovering from her illness.

All of her life Dore needed the approval and acceptance of others and wanted to feel vital at home and in her jobs. Any person that feels that they have outlived their purpose in life often becomes depressed and might do things that would cause themselves harm as she did with her drinking. Dore felt unappreciated, not needed and alone in her later years. Retirement made her feel useless and although she could have reconnected with some of her students or college friends, she did not.

Dorothy Rowe left the world a great legacy in her books, poetry, articles and her articles. But, the best tribute to a parent and legacy is one that Judith March Davis has written and the special toast she made to her mother when she went and fulfilled her dream of going to China. I would love to read her children’s books and it was an honor to review this book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: