Summary and book reviews of Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

Making Toast

A Family Story

by Roger Rosenblatt

Making Toast
  • Critics' Opinion:

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

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Book Summary

When his daughter, Amy, died suddenly of a heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife moved in with their son-in-law and their three young grandchildren. His story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible.

When his daughter Amy, a gifted doctor, mother, and wife collapsed and died from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, left their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren. With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. The day Amy died, Harris told Ginny and Roger, "It's impossible." Rosenblatt's story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible.

With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love.

Excerpt
Making Toast

The trick in foraging for a tooth lost in coffee grounds is not to be misled by the clumps. The only way to be sure is to rub each clump between your thumb and index finger, which makes a mess of your hands. For some twenty minutes this morning, Ginny and I have been hunting in the kitchen trash can for the top left front tooth of our seven-year-old granddaughter, Jessica. Loose for days but not yet dislodged, the tooth finally dropped into a bowl of Apple Jacks. I wrapped it for safekeeping in a paper napkin and put it on the kitchen counter, but it was mistaken for trash by Ligaya, Bubbies’s nanny. Bubbies (James) is twenty-three months and the youngest of our daughter Amy’s three children. Sammy, who is five, is uninterested in the tooth search, and Jessie is unaware of it. We would prefer to find the tooth, so that Jessie won’t worry about the Tooth Fairy not showing up.

This sort of activity has constituted our life since Amy died, last ...

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Reviews

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

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)!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews

The Christian Science Monitor

The careful, deliberate writing... lays out every instance where Amy’s absence was noticed. Rosenblatt handles these moments delicately, often cloaking them in wit or anecdotes... If there’s one shortcoming to Making Toast, it’s that Rosenblatt’s writing itself feels dispassionate. The anger that Rosenblatt mentions so frequently comes across as muffled and technical. Yet [he] commands your attention by other means... each isolated story makes your heart ache... a bleakly beautiful scatter plot of grief.

The Washington Post - Carolyn See

The story is about coping with grief, caring for children and creating an ad hoc family for as long as this particular configuration is required, but mostly it's a textbook on what constitutes perfect writing and how to be a class act.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] beautiful account of human loss, measured by the steady effort to fill in the void.

Kirkus Reviews

There is plenty of hugging and tears, but thankfully no mawkishness or emotional manipulation. Through the glass of the author's transparent style we see all the sharp and soft contours of grief

Author Blurb E.L. Doctorow
A painfully beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backwards. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive.

Author Blurb Ann Beattie
Written so forthrightly, but so delicately, that you feel you're a part of this family.

Reader Reviews

Alma

Toching
The book cover says this is a family story; I’d say it’s also a love story. The author talks about his grief, anger and resentment, but I can tell he is talking about joy, family bonds and love to life, too. I enjoyed this book. I cried, I laughed...   Read More

C H. (Wauwatosa, WI)

Making Toast
A wonderfully written account of how one family handles a very painful event. This is a memoir of parents whose daughter dies leaving behind a husband and three young children. The author and his wife leave behind the life they have to join the ...   Read More

Karen E. (Salt Lake City, UT)

Sweet Surprise
I found this book to be immensely readable and enjoyable. Since it is about the aftermath of the author's daughter's death, that was a bit surprising. Mr Rosenblatt professes to be a man who doesn't believe in God, yet his book points out dozens of...   Read More

Lois G. (Redding, California)

Best read of the year.
I read a lot of books. I live with books all around me. I love books and I love this book. I opened it as soon as it arrived and had it read within 24 hours. This is without a doubt the best book I have ever read on how to "get on with getting on". ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Roger Rosenblatt

Roger Rosenblatt (born in 1940), is a journalist, author, playwright, and teacher. His contributions to Time and PBS have won two George Polk Awards, a Peabody Award, and an Emmy Award. He is the author of five Off-Broadway plays and twelve books, including the national bestseller Rules for Aging and Children of War, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Lapham Rising, also a national bestseller, was his first novel.

Roger Rosenblatt discusses Making Toast:

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