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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: Making Toast

Amy Rosenblatt Solomon was only 38 years old when an undiagnosed and asymptomatic heart condition caused her to collapse and die. Amy’s father and mother, Roger and Ginny Rosenblatt moved into her family’s home to help her husband with their three small children. Roger has written a heartfelt memoir of the making of a new life and a new family after the loss of the central character.

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt is dedicated to his daughter Amy. When Amy suddenly dies, she leaves a busy medical practice, a loving husband, three small children, friends, siblings and parents. Her sudden death illustrates for us all the fragility of life and is written as a joyful reminder of what love can accomplish.

I enjoyed reading about the interaction between the children and their grandparents. There was a lot of sadness, but it was often interspersed with humor that only children can guarantee. So…that being said, how big a jerk am I to not like the book? Yep…I’m a terrible person, just an awful excuse for a human being.

I sympathized with the family, I felt a lot of empathy for the pain and difficult situation they found themselves in, and yet I found the book really awkward to read. It contained too many names, and occasionally I would have to go back to figure out who was being mentioned. When I couldn't figure out who the author was talking about, it was usually okay, because it was often just a casual mention of a family friend or acquaintance, but I got tired of the names that, while personally important to the author and his family, really didn't add much to the story for the unfamiliar reader. I thought the way it was written, while mostly chronological, did go back and forth a bit too much and I was confused by the time-lines. And to me, it read much more like a personal journal of a grieving father. I felt like I was eavesdropping on family tragedy that was really none of my business. (I thought more editing would have been helpful.)

Okay…that took me a good three weeks to get the nerve to write. (Talk about kicking someone when they’re down…I’d probably be out beating up second graders for their lunch money soon…..)

As memoirs go, I'm sure the book will be a lovely remembrance for Amy's family to keep and cherish. For the unrelated reader though, it felt like looking through a scrapbook that belongs to a total stranger. We can be mildly interested, but ultimately uninvolved.

My rating:

Review copy provided by Ecco Publishing


Wendy said...

I appreciate an honest review - and I don't think you are a terrible person because you didn't like an author's style or how the book was laid out!

That said, I actually really loved this book and although at first I was not fond of the vignette style of writing (as you point out - like a journal), eventually the style grew on me and made sense.

I am seeing some mixed reviews of Rosenblatt's book - so I don' think you are alone!

bermudaonion said...

I'm seeing mixed reviews of this one too - sorry it didn't do much for you.

Staci said...

Never apologize for the way you feel about a book. You expressed yourself well and didn't bash it. I love to read honest POV's and then decide for myself whether or not this one would be a good fit for me.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Don't feel bad that you didn't care for the book. There have been quite a few times that I have tried to read a book others have raved about only to find I can't even finish the book. It just means the book wasn't a good fit for you. It happens to us all! I think it's better to have an honest review!

Leslie said...

It is cool that you describe.