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Making Toast: A Family Story (Paperback)
Roger Rosenblatt admits to having a talent for one domestic chore—that of breakfast duty and the ability to make the perfect piece of toast for each of his grandchildren. He is called upon to practice this art after the sudden death of his daughter, Amy. Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, leave home and move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three grandchildren. In Making Toast they are still there. This is a gentle book peppered with fond memories of Amy, with instances of healing as each of them deals with his grief, and with the adjustments they all go through as the three generations learn to live together. Through it all, Rosenblatt’s skill with language and form prevents this eulogy from being either too stark or too sentimental. Instead, it’s the story of a family dealing with tragedy one day, one crisis and one piece of toast at a time. ~ Ann— From Ann
March 2010 Indie Next List
“After the death of their married daughter, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife take on all that they can to help their son-in-law and grandchildren. The pain of the story is beautifully mitigated by the elegance of the language, and ^Making Toast^ is inspiring. This is a book to cherish.”
— Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
“A painfully beautiful memoir….Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive.”
—E. L. Doctorow
A revered, many times honored (George Polk, Peabody, and Emmy Award winner, to name but a few) journalist, novelist, and playwright, Roger Rosenblatt shares the unforgettable story of the tragedy that changed his life and his family. A book that grew out of his popular December 2008 essay in The New Yorker, Making Toast is a moving account of unexpected loss and recovery in the powerful tradition of About Alice and The Year of Magical Thinking. Writer Ann Beattie offers high praise to the acclaimed author of Lapham Rising and Beet for a memoir that is, “written so forthrightly, but so delicately, that you feel you’re a part of this family.”
“Rosenblatt…sets a perfect tone and finds the right words to describe how his family is coming with their grief… It may seem odd to call a book about such a tragic event charming, but it is. There is indeed life-after death, and Rosenblatt proves that without a doubt.”
“[MAKING TOAST] 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.”
“[An] exquisite, restrained little memoir filled with both hurt and humor.”
“Sad but somehow triumphant, this memoir is a celebration of family, and of how, even in the deepest sorrow, we can discover new links of love and the will to go on.”
“Rosenblatt avoids the sentimentality that might have weighed down [Making Toast]; he writes with humor and an engagement with life that makes the occasional flashes of grief all the more telling. The result is a beautiful account of human loss, measured by the steady effort to fill in the void.
“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.”
Roger Rosenblatt means, I believe, to teach patience, love, a fondness for the quotidian, and a deftness for saving the lost moment—when faced with lacerating loss. These are brilliant lessons, fiercely-learned. But Rosenblatt comes to them and to us—suitably—with immense humility.
“A must read for all....By no means treacly with sentiment, the book takes us through the ordinary along with the extra-ordinary events in the life of this family as they struggle to regain their center and go on with their lives.
“[A] gem of a memoir... sad, funny, brave and luminous....[a] rare and generous book.”
“[A] piercing account of broken hearts [that] records how love, hurt, and responsibility can, through antic wit and tenderness, turn a shattered household into a luminous new-made family.”
“Written so forthrightly, but so delicately, that you feel you’re a part of this family... How lucky some of us are to see clearly what needs to be done, even in the saddest, most life-altering circumstances.”
“There are circumstances in which prose is poetry, and the unornamented candor of Rosenblatt’s writing slowly attains to a sober sort of lyricism...This is more than just a moving book. It is also a useful book....[Rosenblatt’s] toast is buttered with wisdom. ”