letter from a reader

...now browsing by tag


My New Memoir – “Something To Prove” – Is Now Listed On Amazon.com

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

It will still be several months before SOMETHING TO PROVE: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy (Kaplan 2010), is on the bookstore shelves. My publisher plans a launch in late December. But, I’m thrilled to say that Amazon.com already has it listed in the “Books” section.

Writing this new book was a response, in a way, to the thousand or more letters, emails, and phone calls, I’ve gotten from readers – women and men, grade schoolers and grandparents – who wanted me to know how much THE DITCHDIGGER’S DAUGHTERS inspired them. You asked to know what had occurred after that book ended. The answers are in SOMETHING TO PROVE, which, as the Amazon description says, picks up where THE DITCHDIGGER’S DAUGHTERS left off.

Most important, SOMETHING TO PROVE shows that what was true as I was growing up is still true today: despite bias, despite setbacks, with hard work and determination, we can accomplish whatever we set out to do.

I can’t wait for you to read it (although you will have to wait, for a little while longer, at least). And I look forward to reading your letters and emails after you’ve turned the last page.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

A lovely letter from a reader – and a reminder of why I’ve shared my life story

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I still hear from readers who were inspired by my first memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, although it was originally published almost 15 years ago.

The latest to come to me via email really touched me. It’s from Mr. Fred Belknap, whose lovely words make me think that he appreciates the values that my father instilled in his children in almost the same way I do:

    What an example this can be for our children relative to today, in that many think everything should be handed to them and meeting goals and beating the odds is a birth right. It seems your father did a special job to prepare you and your sisters for this world though perhaps his message was questioned at times as a result of his methods. Even though his vision, now a reality through his daughters, speaks to the strength of having a plan and carrying it through.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and I pray the many messages engraved within them are seen by the upcoming generation.

Thank you Mr. Belknap. Your kinds words have made my day, week and month.

And a big thanks to all those who have read The Ditchdigger’s Daughters and taken its lessons to heart. I hope you’ll all continue the journey with me and read Something to Prove, my next memoir, which picks up where The Ditchdigger’s Daughters left off. It’s scheduled to be published by Kaplan Publishing in Fall 2010.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

A reader “adopts” my father

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I recently heard from a reader of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, named Sheila. Like so many who have sought me out over the years, Sheila had words of admiration for my father. But for her, my book about how my blue collar laborer, high school dropout father instilled the importance of an education is his daughters provided an especially poignant inspiration:

I grew up in the projects and never had a father. I purchased your book and Donald Thornton became my father. Whenever I wanted to give up or thought I was not smart enough I would remember his stern words and teachings. Your dad is the father every little black girl in America needs. I am soon to finish my Bachelors Degree in Nursing and going for a Ph.D.

It’s letters like this that keep me going through the tough times, knowing I’ve made a difference in the lives of others by sharing my story.

And that’s why I wish I didn’t have to wait to announce some major, and very exciting news. I hope you will bear with me for a little while longer. That announcement should be coming very soon.

– Yvonne Thornton, MD, MPH

Another letter from a reader of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

It always moves me to hear from readers that my book inspired them. But I’m amazed that I’m still getting such letters, 14 years after The Ditchdigger’s Daughters was first published.

Here are a few excerpts from what a young nursing/pre-med student named Maria, who said that my book changed her life, wrote me:

“I read your book last summer The Ditchdigger’s Daughters and I have wanted to email you for so long but I have been so busy with school full-time and working part-time. But I really want you to know that I admire you so much. My dream is to become a pediatrician, take care of children, and to encourage them, especially young girls, that they can become whatever they want, to never give up, have faith in God, and believe in themselves. I have three sisters and three brothers and my parents have really sacrificed a lot to make sure we could all go to college. Financially it has been difficult and for a while I even contemplated not going to med school because it was so costly …

“I will be graduating with honors and then enroll at The College of William & Mary to finish my pre-med courses… I love to read and I am truly blessed to have come upon your book.”

Hearing from people like Maria is especially gratifying because I know how difficult it is to keep such a dream in sight when money is tight.

I’ve heard from so many readers over the years. I can’t tell you what it means, knowing that my book helped someone get through difficult moments. What I can say to Maria and others is, I’ve been there. I know it’s tough. Keep going. You’ll make it. And when you do, you’ll inspire others.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH