|Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A quirky, original, semi-memoir which gives the reader a nice, fuzzy feeling all over.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Dutton Books|
|External links: Author's website|
I wasn't sure what to expect when I asked for this book to review. It claims on the front cover to be not exactly a memoir, and it isn't. Yet, also, it kind of is. In fact, I would struggle to describe or decipher exactly what it is. It is so unlike any book I've ever read before.
The book is cleverly set out from the start in the manner of a study textbook, letting the reader know this is going to be a fun and playful foray into the life and mind of its author. There are sections of the book with titles such as 'Social Studies' and 'Math'. Flicking through the book, there are blank pages and pages containing one word or one or two sentences. There is also an interactive element to the book whereby some pages have an opportunity to text a message once read and connect with the author and/or other readers. I didn't take part in these, but found them an interesting and thoughtful concept for a book.
Once I started reading, I fell into this book and didn't want to put it down until it was read all the way through. It would be an ideal accompaniment for a day at the beach, or a lazy Sunday, as it would be possible to read in a longish sitting. I actually read it over a weekend, and enjoyed every minute. Rosenthal introduces us to her family, complete with dog Cougar, and tells us simple anecdotes about them, such as memories of her elderly Uncle Henry, conversations and interactions with her children, husband or father, and a remarkable take on serendipity. One of my favourite sections 'Math' simply contains pages of one equation after another, such as: (patience + silence) x coffee = Poetry.
I think that maybe a cynical type might find some of this book, on first reflection, slightly 'silly', perhaps. But once I got into it, I found elements of deep profundity which touched me, and stayed with me long after reading. Rosenthal's reflections on the passage of time and the memories of her growing children, for example, resonated with me. It could certainly be argued that Rosenthal is simply a woman writing short anecdotes and reflections from her life and the life around her. But I think that is simply the point. I found her observations uplifting and wise, and can't imagine how anybody could not feel better after reading this book.
If you liked this, you might like Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time by Penelope Lively.
You can read more book reviews or buy Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal at Amazon.com.
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