Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Book Review: Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt
The author's daughter, a 38-year-old pediatrician, had a heart attack and died on day while running on the treadmill. The author, "Boppo," and his wife "Mimi" move into their daughter's house to help their son-in-law with their three grandchildren. Unlike other memoirs of grief that I have read, this one really didn't make me sad at all.
Written as a series of vignettes, without chapters or much structure, this memoir reads like a journal of sorts. It's very accessible in that way, as you really are in this situation with Boppo, Mimi, Harris, and the kids. On the other hand it's also distracting as it's hard to keep track of all the names of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. And the celebrity name-dropping I really could have done without, even if it is legitimate and brief.
The kids are sweet, honest, and real. They are the real heart of the book. Whether they are recreating their mother's death, demanding toast for breakfast, or advancing to a new grade in school, they are the focus of everyone, the reason for going on.
The book is quite short and I read it in just a few hours. Other grief memoirs have been more cathartic and more relatable. It is well-written and precise and thoughtful, but I had wished for more emotional resonance.
I bought this book at a Borders going out of business sale.