Little and Often: Book summary and reviews of Little and Often by Trent Preszler

Little and Often

by Trent Preszler

Little and Often by Trent Preszler X
Little and Often by Trent Preszler
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Book Summary

Trent Preszler thought he was living the life he always wanted, with a job at a winery and a seaside Long Island home, when he was called back to the life he left behind. After years of estrangement, his cancer-stricken father had invited him to South Dakota for Thanksgiving. It would be the last time he saw his father alive.

Preszler's only inheritance was a beat-up wooden toolbox that had belonged to his father, who was a cattle rancher, rodeo champion, and Vietnam War Bronze Star Medal recipient. This family heirloom befuddled Preszler. He did not work with his hands—but maybe that was the point. In his grief, he wondered if there was still a way to understand his father, and with that came an epiphany: he would make something with his inheritance. Having no experience or training in woodcraft, driven only by blind will, he decided to build a wooden canoe, and he would aim to paddle it on the first anniversary of his father's death.

While Preszler taught himself how to use his father's tools, he confronted unexpected revelations about his father's secret history and his own struggle for self-respect. The grueling challenges of boatbuilding tested his limits, but the canoe became his sole consolation. Gradually, Preszler learned what working with his hands offered: a different per­spective on life, and the means to change it.

Little and Often is an unflinching account of bereavement and a stirring reflection on the complexities of inheritance. Between his past and his present, and between America's heartland and its coasts, Preszler shows how one can achieve reconciliation through the healing power of creativity.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Childhood pains, the romantic heartbreaks of early adulthood, the devastation of forested places due to climate change: All come under scrutiny as Preszler movingly chronicles his single-minded pursuit to build something...Woodworking meets bridge-building, and sorrow meets understanding in this impeccably written, loving memoir." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ultimately it's a tale as well crafted as the beautiful canoe." - Booklist

"A thoughtful and well-written memoir, this book will appeal to readers who have difficult relationships with family and those who find craftwork healing." - Library Journal

"Little and Often is a beautiful memoir of grief, love, the shattered bond between a father and son, and the resurrection of a broken heart. Trent Preszler tells his story with the same level of art and craftsmanship that he brings to his boat making, and he reminds us of creativity's power to transform and heal our lives. This is a powerful and deeply moving book. I won't soon forget it." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"An impressive memoir, and a richly rendered tale. I thought (with relish) that I was getting a book about wood and tools, but the canoe built herein is merely the vessel carrying the buoyant narrative about a father and son, a mother and sister, love, hard work, wine, boats and a dog. I may have grown misty at one point." - Nick Offerman, actor and New York Times bestselling author

"The woodworking is rich and beyond impressive, but Preszler's humble soul work is utterly transcendent. Courageous. Genuine. Cathartic. Will restore your faith in forgiveness. Will make you believe in grace." - Matthew Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Reason You're Alive

"Sometimes a writer goes on a journey in order to write a book. More rarely, a writer writes a book in order to go on a journey. Little and Often belongs to that latter category of memoir, built from the inside out. In Trent Preszler's hands, we are smoothed, soothed, and made anew as he peels back layer after layer of his grief and loss until there is only love and forgiveness. This is an unforgettable story of a father's final, life-altering gift to his son." - Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance

This information about Little and Often shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

A South Dakota native, Trent Preszler builds wooden boats in his coastal New York studio. He taught himself woodworking after inheriting a humble toolbox from his father, who died from cancer in 2014. His memoir Little and Often was published in February 2021 by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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