Excerpt from Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Making Toast

A Family Story

by Roger Rosenblatt

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt X
Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 128 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I found I could not write and didn’t want to. I could teach, however, and it helped me feel useful. I drive from Bethesda to Quogue on Sundays, and meet my M.F.A. writing classes at Stony Brook University on Mondays and Tuesdays. Then back to Bethesda on Wednesdays. The drive takes more than five hours and a tank of gas each way. But it is easier and faster than flying or taking a train.

Road rage was a danger those first weeks. I picked fights with store clerks for no reason. I lost my temper with a student who phoned me too frequently about her work. I seethed at those who spoke of Amy’s death in the clichés of modern usage, such as “passing” and “closure.” I cursed God. In a way, believing in God made Amy’s death more, not less, comprehensible, since the God I believe in is not beneficent. He doesn’t care. A friend was visiting Jerusalem when he got the news about Amy. He kicked the Wailing Wall, and said, “Fuck you, God!” My sentiments exactly.

What’s Jessie’s favorite winter jacket? The blue, not the pink, though pink is her favorite color. Sammy prefers whole milk in his Froot Loops or Multigrain Cheerios. He calls it “cow milk.” Jessie drinks only soy milk. She likes a glass of it at breakfast. Sammy prefers water. Such information had to be absorbed quickly. Sammy sees himself as the silver Power Ranger, Jessie is the pink. Sammy’s friends are Nico, Jonathan, and Kipper. Jessie’s are Oana, Danielle, and Luxmi. There were playdates to arrange, birthday-party invitations to respond to, school forms to fill out. Sammy goes to a private preschool, Jessie to the local public school. We had to master their schedules.

I reaccustomed myself to things about small children I’d forgotten. Talking toys came back into my life. I will be walking with the family through an airport, and the voice of a ventriloquist’s dummy in a horror movie will seep through the suitcase. Buzz Lightyear says, “To infinity and beyond!” Another toy says, “I’m a pig. Can we stop?” A talking phone says, “Help me!”

In all this, two things were of immeasurable use to us. First, a friend of Amy’s created a Web site inviting other friends to prepare dinners for our family. Participants deposited dinners in a blue cooler outside our front door. Food was provided every other evening, with enough for the nights in between, from mid-December to the beginning of June.

The second was a piece of straightforward wisdom that Bubbies’s nanny gave Harris. Ligaya is a small, lithe woman of about forty-five. I know little of her life except that she is from the Philippines, has one grown son here who is a supervisor in a restaurant, and has a work ethic of steel and the flexibility to deal with any contingency. She also shows a sense of practical formality, by calling Bubbies James, to insure that name for his future. Ligaya altered her schedule to be with us twelve hours a day, five days a week—an indispensable gift, especially to her small charge, who giggles with delight when he hears her key in the front door. No one outside the family could have felt Amy’s death more acutely. Yet what she said to Harris, and to the rest of us, was dispassionate: “You are not the first to go through such a thing, and you are better able to handle it than most.”

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt. Copyright © 2010 by Roger Rosenblatt. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Roger Rosenblatt

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    A hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.