If you like “Joy,” you’ll love “Peachy”

On Sunday night, Jennifer Lawrence earned a Golden Globe for playing the title character in “Joy,” a film loosely based on the true story of inventor and single mom Joy Mangano. Despite Lawrence’s big win, the movie has received mixed reviews. I, for one, was a fan because I’m inspired by resilient women who persist through their every struggle and ultimately come out on top. Women like Joy…and Peachy.

I’ve written about my friend Leonora “Peachy” Dixon before.  Patrick lovingly refers to her as the beautiful and intelligent Forrest Gump of Baltimore. I could probably write about her every day, but I don’t have to. She gets her incredible stories down on paper herself.

I edited Peachy’s first book, A Peachy Life, about her idyllic Italian Catholic upbringing in Baltimore, which was shattered by an abusive marriage and redeemed by a career waiting tables for Johnny Unitas, and ultimately, at Sabatino’s, where you can find her now.

After the success of A Peachy Life, Baltimore’s most famous waitress approached me again with another idea. “Did you know I used to own a sub shop?” she asked. I hadn’t, but I wasn’t surprised. “Well, I want to write a book about that.” And so she did. It’s called A Peachy Business and it is GOOD!

For a single mom in the 1980s, owning a business must have seemed like an impossible dream. But Peachy, inspired by her father’s advice to have something to leave for her children, charged forward with her counter-style restaurant “Peachy and Boh’s” on Belair Road in Overlea. She assembled a team of unforgettable characters and served up her family’s finest Italian recipes, with a side of humor, love, and enough craziness to keep everything interesting.

If I had to compare “A Peachy Business” to a TV show, it’s Cheers meets Friends meets The Food Network. With every turn of the page, I can see Peachy’s story become a movie. Hopefully some day Jennifer Lawrence will be earning an award for playing Peachy. (Or Sandra Bullock, if Peachy has her way.)

You can buy your copy of A Peachy Business at Sabatino’s. You might just even get to meet her there.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.