Noelle's Reviews > An American Childhood

An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
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Jan 27, 11

Read in February, 2008

This is one of the best books I have ever read. Annie Dillard writes about growing up in Pittsburgh. She dabbled in everything as a child -- drawing, sports, music, dancing, intense and extensive reading, collecting, finding "small creatures" under a microscope. She more than dabbled; she seems to have thrown herself into every endeavor. She writes about becoming awake to the world, and is the first writer I've ever read who has captured my own amazement at waking up to the world and realizing that I am actually part of it -- "What is important is anyone's coming awake and discovering a place, finding in full orbit a spinning globe one can lean over, catch and jump on. What is important is the moment of opening a life and feeling it touch -- with an electric hiss and cry -- this speckled mineral sphere, our present world." This book is a chronicle, not of names, dates, or places, but of moments of awakening to the world, over and over, in new ways. Every line is exquisite and well-crafted. Her writing is not at all didactic, not at all smug, just honest and revelatory.
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