BookBrowse Reviews Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

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Making Toast

A Family Story

by Roger Rosenblatt

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2011, 128 pages

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A moving tribute to a late daughter and a testament to familial love

22 out of 27 BookBrowse readers gave Making Toast 4 or 5 stars. Here's what they had to say:

This is a beautifully written and emotional little memoir, comprised of non-sequential short anecdotes which encapsulate the year following the sudden death of the author's thirty-eight-year-old daughter. The author and his wife move into their son-in-law's home to help care for their three young grandchildren. The sparse format of the book precludes deep intimacy with the family, yet I still came away with a sense of knowing and caring about them all, adults and children. I will remember these people and will wish I could know how their lives play out in the years to come (perhaps a sequel?) (Mary Q). I loved this book from beginning to end. It gave me a clearer understanding of what is important in life. Thank you, Mr. Rosenblatt, for writing this heartwarming book (Nancy S).

I did shed a few tears reading this book from cover to cover in one sitting. As a grandmother of 3 boys, ages 1, 3 and 5 and having just finished babysitting for them for 5 days, I was totally exhausted by dinnertime and raised a glass of wine to Ginny (and to Roger) for being able to step into the shoes of the children's mother without collapsing, either physically or mentally. The writing is such that the reader feels she is a part of the family, not an outsider. Truly a masterful piece dealing with the loss of a daughter, yet preserving her memory through everyday tasks. I'll look forward to recommending this for our bookclub (Patricia S).

Finally - a self help book that doesn't offer answers. No preaching, yoga, religious practices, dietary props, no deep breathing. Rosenblatt tells it like it is - and is helpful in spite of himself. Having lost a daughter, survived by a daughter of her own in mid-teens, I have empathy for the author's sudden transformation from grandparent to parent in the midst of untold grief. And his message is one it took me longer to discover, but which I've found to be true. His book is deeply personal, telling the day after day meaningful moments (like "making toast!") that make surviving grief possible. My daily circumstances - and yours - are different from his, but it doesn't matter. His own "moments" somehow blend with my own, and they make me smile (Mary G).

Some of our readers wished for less restraint, and more emotion:
The narrative is told factually with little emotion, perhaps due to the author's training an a journalist. It felt like he was an observer rather than a participant in the tragedy of this young family. Still, the author's love and devotion to his deceased daughter and his extended family resonate clearly. I just wish he had been more forthcoming about his feelings (Iris F). Roger Rosenblatt's memoir of the months following his daughter's sudden death is told with great simplicity and restraint. Unfortunately, for me that didn't work. I wanted to read more of the emotional pain and less of the day-to-day details of caring for his 3 young grandchildren (Beth M). I did often find myself wanting a little more depth, but I don't think that is what the author wanted. I think this was written to share anecdotes, not intended an in-depth story of death. With that in mind, the book serves it purpose well (Amellia H).

Overall, our readers were deeply affected, finding laughter, tears, and comfort:
A wonderfully written account of how one family handles a very painful event. I can think of no more heartwarming relationship than a grandparent and grandchild. Although this relationship is forged through painful conditions, the story is told in such an honest and factual, but warm and loving way that this is a book you will learn from and remember (C H). This is without a doubt the best book I have ever read on how to "get on with getting on". Making Toast will make you cry, but in doing so it might make you a better person. Read this book (Lois G)!

This review was originally published in March 2010, and has been updated for the February 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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  Roger Rosenblatt

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