Mary’s Books

coupon crazy

Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession, Familius, July 2013, examines the phenomena of avid coupon use and the sociocultural and socioeconomic factors that construct it. By delving into the history of couponing, refunding, the science of shopping, and the dark underbelly of a coupon world the average American didn’t even know existed, author Mary Potter Kenyon manages to both fascinate and educate the reader. Readers will meet today’s “Coupon Queens” (and Kings) and learn about an era when trash really was cash. Not just an observer of this ethnographic research, Mary lived it for over 30 years.

Mary Potter Kenyon is featured in this documentary on couponing~

Clipped from Aleksandar Petakov on Vimeo.

Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage, Familius, April 2014.

When Mary Potter Kenyon’s husband David was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2006 she searched libraries and bookstores for books on cancer and the caregiving experience. What she discovered was a plethora of technical and medically-oriented books or those written by a caregiver whose loved one had died, a scenario she refused to contemplate. While serving as David’s companion during Wednesday chemotherapy treatments, Mary began journaling about their experience as a couple and parents of young children as they navigated the labyrinth of cancer. It soon dawned on her that she was writing the very book she had searched for upon David’s diagnosis: one that goes beyond the cancer experience to give hope and inspiration to the reader. Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage is a moving testimonial of a relationship renewed by the shared experience of a life threatening illness.

refined by fire
Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace, with a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Cecil Murphey, Familius, October 2014.

“Where is the handbook for widows?” Mary Kenyon lamented as she planned a funeral for the beloved husband whose triumph over cancer she chronicled in Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage. During the ensuing weeks, as she attempted to make sense of his untimely death, she filled two journals, blogged, and read the inspirational writings of others who had gone down the road of grief before her–authors like C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle. She eventually found herself studying grief and bereavement in her quest to unearth answers to alleviating the pain associated with profound loss. In the process, she discovered a strength and emotional reserve she didn’t know she had, along with an evolving faith that helped her face the impending loss of an eight-year-old grandson.


Mary Kenyon’s Refined by Fire reminds me of my grandmother, Madeleine L’Engle, who taught so many of us that writing can be a form of prayer that leads us to grace. I was moved to read how her influence inspired Mary to write and heal as well. Mary’s writing style is extremely accessible, and her voice raw, authentic and brave. By the end I was crying with her. I would definitely recommend her book to anyone who is going through any type of loss.”
– Léna Roy, granddaughter of Madeleine L’Engle, seasoned writing instructor and author of Edges

During a writers’ workshop I was teaching on a Midwestern college campus, a woman in the front row of desks began to weep. I didn’t know why at the time. But I sensed I was witness to something holy happening in that room. The book you hold in your hands is a result of that holy moment when the God of heaven gave the author permission to write out of the midst of her pain to provide a holding-on place for others in theirs. Mary’s breathtakingly real thoughts reveal that razor edge where despair dances with hope and the ugly becomes elegant.”
– Cynthia Ruchti, author of Ragged Hope

mary & me
Mary and Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink, Familius, September 2015, co written with Mary Jedlicka Humston, explores a thirty-year friendship between two women: one who had never learned to cultivate female friendships, and the other who had managed to gather and maintain a large group of friends throughout her adult life. The fact that thousands of handwritten letters between them linked these two together is just part of the intriguing story. Mary Potter Kenyon, the author of “Refined by Fire,” “Coupon Crazy,” and “Chemo-Therapist,” and her co-writer Mary Jedlicka Humston share an unforgettable friendship that will inspire you to pick up your pen and begin writing “Dear . . . ”

“For thirty years, the Marys have maintained their correspondence, their connection empowered by sheets of paper. Through their letters, these two friends have been able to get through extremely difficult moments and grow as mothers, friends, and community members. Their commitment to each other is apparent within these pages. One cannot help but smile when reading how Mary Kenyon and Mary Humston have flourished through their friendship with each other.”- from the Foreword by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson Yothers, Founders of the Letter Writers Alliance