Annie's Reviews > Making Toast

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt
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Nov 22, 10

bookshelves: memoirs
Read in November, 2010, read count: Once

Making Toast is a melancholy, poignant memoir by a grandfather who moves in to help raise his grandchildren after their mother, Amy, dies suddenly from a rare heart condition. Amy was a healthy doctor who showed no symptoms of any problem. She lives behind her husband Harris (a hand surgeon), Jessica (6 years-old), Sammy (4 years-old) and James (1 year-old). Roger and Ginny, the grandparents, immediately move into the basement. Roger, an author, examines the process of grief that each family member undergoes and ultimately endures in a quiet, thoughtful, honest manner. It is a work that reminds everyone how different the grieving process can be for each individual. I thought the writing style was very restrained and almost polite. The book was filled with brief snapshots and vignettes of daily life, some sorrowful but also included delightful and humorous scenes. It is a sweet story and a tender novel of an unconventional scenario working for all parties as a catalyst for healing from such a sudden death. I am not sure what rating to give this story because it was a nice read but it didn’t necessarily strike me at my core like my favorite books do. There isn’t a strong dislike or strong like either way.
Caution to any sensitive readers: There one instance that I can recall of a swear word, also death is a heavy subject matter.

Favorite Quotes:
It was written in a hand surer than Ginny’s is these days. Since Amy died, her handwriting has deteriorated-one of the very few outward signs of her suffering. The letter closed: “I wish you work that matters. I wish you the joy of a great love in marriage. I wish you the beauty and fulfillment that comes from being a mother.

Odd that I seem to know Amy more completely in death than I did when she was alive. I do not know her any better (I doubt that I could know her any better), but there was so much to her life that I was unaware of until now, when I speak with her friends and colleagues and learn of this sound decisions or of that small gesture of thoughtfulness. Jean Mullen, Amy’s former chief resident, told me that she and Amy happened to have the same set of dishes and complained of the too-shallow soup bowls. Jean said, “Amy showed up at my door one day, carrying new deep soup bowls for both of us.”
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