Claire's Reviews > One Man's Meat

One Man's Meat by E.B. White
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's review
Mar 19, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: essays, memoir

While there is no denying White's excellence as a children's book writer, he is also a formidable personal essayist; in this collection, he plunges into the task of writing with an unstinting willingness to connect with readers, thereby exposing his vulnerability in the process. (And what can be more vulnerable than writing about the time you misunderstood a nurse's instructions and strolled into an x-ray room completely naked except for your shoes and garters?) Despite the delightful points of humor salted throughout the collection, White's overall attitude with which he regards the subject matter is often more earnest than humorous. The much-anthologized "Once More to the Lake" reflects a more serious sensibility, as do a number of musings on farming, the rural life, the impending Second World War and various socio-economic issues of the time.

This is personal essay writing at its very best. It is not heady, intellectual prose parading its dictional prowess while thumbing its nose at the reader, but rather a series of meditations on life. This collection germinates from someone who attended to his writing life earnestly, interacting with his readers as one would an old friend, and never shied away from self-ridicule or acknowledging with amusement those little ironic moments in life that are too easily eschewed by the bitter and cynical.

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Quotes Claire Liked

E.B. White
“So I told [the doctor] about my hay fever, which used to rage just in summertime but now simmers the year round, and he listened listlessly as though it were a cock and bull story; and we sat there for a few minutes and neither of us was interested in the other's nose, but after a while he poked a little swab up mine and made a smear on a glass slide and his assistant put it under the microscope and found two cells which delighted him and electrified the whole office, the cells being characteristic of a highly allergic system. The doctor's manner changed instantly and he was full of the enthusiasm of discovery and was as proud of the two little cells as though they were his own.”
E.B. White, One Man's Meat

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