Sad Papaw

Have you ever wondered if there is more to life than what you are living? Has the daily routine of life brought you to a place of displeasure and discouragement? Moreover, do the cares of life and their responsibilities overwhelm you and deter you from reaching your greatest potential? It is for these questions and more that this book, The Seven F’s to a Fruitful Life was written, being inspired by God.


Sad Papaw’s HERITAGE

  One of the most fascinating things about life is the birth of new generations through different times and cultures. Sad Papaw’s Heritage contains the colorful history of the Harmon (initially spelled as Harman) clan and the different realities each generation experienced. Kenny Harmonshares with readers how the families in his lineage were influenced by the economies, societies, and politics of their times. Farming was a major profession in the 1800s, and it was no easy work as it took a toll on the health of the men who had to practice it to feed their family; they had to learn to use newly introduced farm machinery while risking being decapitated. However, it wasn’t all work for Peter and Mary, who got married in 1844. The couple, along with their children, enjoyed sophisticated dishes, fun games, and vibrant church picnics. The Harmons also experienced some troubling phenomena, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, loss, floods, and cyclones. Kenny Harmon does an amazing job of recording different events and details about the Harmons and provides rich information about what it meant to raise a family in the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States. Comparing life now to how it was in those times was certainly worthwhile. I can’t imagine having only three attires, as Mary did, or trying to make ends meet as a farmer during the Great Depression and while experiencing drought and dust storms. Reading about these difficult experiences from a different time has helped me appreciate the current generation and how easier some things, such as surviving pneumonia, have become in today’s age. The need to make conscious, calculated efforts to resolve some issues is apparent when you consider the fact that many concerning practices have remained consistent over the years, including the exploitation of workers by profit-motivated enterprises. Sad Papaw’s Heritage is quite elaborate as it contains several themes: food recipes, games, courting practices, capitalism, governance, family, travel, war, and more. The black and white pictures brought the characters and historical cultures to life. The book is also easy to read and enjoy since it moves through different events and stories at a comfortable pace while maintaining the readers’ attention by not spending too much time on a subject. In Sad Papaw’s Heritage, we see the Harmons witness different historical events, such as the Civil War and the Great Depression. Experiencing history through a family lineage provides a more personal, micro view of history that leaves a lasting and distinctive impression. Kenny Harmon’s natural and enthusiastic style gave me a warm and cozy experience that’s similar to listening to captivating stories by the fire on a cold evening. I definitely recommend it!
Reviewed by Foluso Falaye

Sad Papaw’s HERITAGE


One of the modern age’s most controversial and widely used tools is social media. Websites and apps like Twitter and Instagram host millions of users from around the world, making connections with individuals and groups through shared interests as easy as the click of a button. Yet the dangers of online bullying, threats, and so much more have made the issue of social media something of a debatable topic. As Roxane Gay once said, “Social media is something of a double-edged sword. At its best, social media offers unprecedented opportunities for marginalized people to speak and bring much needed attention to the issues they face. At its worst, social media also offers ‘everyone’ an unprecedented opportunity to share in collective outrage without reflection.”

In author Kenny Harmon’s Sad Papaw’s: Heritage, the author explores the impact of a single social media post as they explore the man behind a viral post, America’s Sad Papaw. After a young woman sent out a tweet featuring an image of her “Papaw,” the image went viral, and now the family is coming forward to tell the tale of this man. Taking readers from the wheat fields of Kentucky and the days in which a new game known as “baseball” was taking shape, the book follows the man who would become “Sad Papaw” during a time of great change for a struggling nation.

The author did an incredible job of bringing the history and culture of a singular family to life for readers everywhere. The first book in a series following the man behind “Sad Papaw,” this book introduces the origins of his family and where their roots come from, starting in 1844 and moving forward in time. The unique writing style of the author is creative and unique, as the story flows as a memoir and yet is written in a very narrative way; stepping into the perspective of these ancestors and family members with ease. The attention to detail the author paid to the time period of each chapter and the social and cultural impacts which were put onto the growing family was amazing and insightful to read. This included how young farming families would often have to barter supplies made at home with one another to help make up for the lack of funds they had, and the encounters in their travels that were often peaceful, yet at other times they weren’t. Even some chapters included things like recipes used by the family, and photographs, which really helped bring a personal and intimate touch to the narrative.

This is the perfect read for those who enjoy memoirs, especially memoirs and nonfiction reads that focus on family, and the history and origins of that same family. This would also resonate greatly with fans of history and culture, namely the American History of the late 19th century and early 20th century. As a fan of these genres, I was both moved and fascinated with the detailed accounts of these time periods, and marveled at how this all sprang from one singular tweet.

Heartfelt, mesmerizing, and honest, author Kenny Harmon’s Sad Papaw’s: Heritage is a must-read memoir and non-fiction book. The first book in a trilogy surrounding the figure known as “Sad Papaw” the author explores the importance of family and the impact they have on us as individuals, as well as the impact social media has on our culture and society as a whole.

Pacific Book Review

Sad Papaw’s HERITAGE


Sad Papaw’s Heritage is a beautiful memoir and historical account of one man’s lineage starting with his great-great-grandparents. Kenny Harman, otherwise known as Sad Papaw, tells stories of happy times and sad times throughout the years.

Peter and Mary Harman marry in 1844. They live in a log cabin and shortly after Mary becomes pregnant with their first child, KC. KC is the first child of many and as Mary becomes pregnant each time, she has a harder time working on the farm. The duties on the farm are very physical and time-consuming and Mary must also tend to the children and do the cooking and cleaning. Peter worked from sun up to sundown. The author does a wonderful job of describing, in full detail, the tools and machinery that were used on the farm. I also loved the fact that there were pictures and authentic recipes throughout the book. These really brought the book to life as readers could see how different the dress was back then and see each family member. As the children grow up, they also get married and from there the Harman family just grows and grows. There are some funny stories in the book such as that of Billy, Kenny’s father, who was labeled a troublemaker. Along with his cousin Glenn, Billy would get into some crazy shenanigans such as lighting a leftover skyrocket. There are also some very sad moments such as the death of some of the children.

Another thing that is wonderful about this book is that it spans such a large number of years that the reader is able to visit the time of President Lincoln but also read forward into the creation of the Model T and Crayola Crayons. As the years go on, more and more innovative ideas and products become introduced. The book does a very thorough job of outlining each family member’s story and since there are quite a few family members, this made it easier to separate the generations. One suggestion would be to also include a family tree in the front or back of the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of an American family who migrated through the Southern and Midwest states, their struggles, and their triumphs. This book is a treasure and I feel that most adults would enjoy reading it.

Reviewed by Kristi Elizabeth


Kenny Harmon is a retired ironworker from Dibble,OK. He was a 4th generation farmer of watermelons & numerous other crops in the Dibble/Blanchard Okla communities. The story of Sad Papaw began March 16th, 2016 when her granddaughter Kelsey Harmon posted a tweet about her Papaw cooking a dozen burgers for six grandkids but she was the only one to be at his house.


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