Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: About Alice by Calvin Trillin

This book is incredibly brief and yet it speaks volumes. When the book first came out it got rave reviews and I had many, many people tell me I should read it, but I was reluctant to spend the money on a book so short (thank you, library!)

Mr. Trillin over the years has apparently written a lot about his beloved wife Alice in his books and essays over the years, to the point where many of his readers felt like they knew her and wrote him some very touching letters after her death. Kind of in response to those people reaching out, Mr. Trillin wrote this homage to Alice.

Alice was pretty, smart, with a sharp-tongue and good editorial sense. She grew up in a financially insecure household, so she loved that she always felt safe with Calvin. She gave back to the community by teaching at a prison and a treatment center. She would lecture smokers more than anyone, but she never shied away from telling people what she thought about their remodeling plans or any other area she could give advice.

Mr. Trillin felt so lucky that he had Alice. Although he got an extra 25 years after her lung cancer diagnosis (she did not smoke but both her parents did), she still left way too soon. The book isn't at all sad or maudlin, which actually was not what I was expecting (I thought this was going to be a lot like The Year of Magical Thinking which had me sobbing more than once.) Instead it is a celebration of Alice Trillin. They had the sort of relationship we all aspire to, and I do hope my boyfriend adores me like Calvin does.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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