Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Review--Making Toast

This week I read a heart wrenching memoir by Roger Rosenblatt called Making Toast (NY: Harper Collins, 2010). Rosenblatt is a longtime essayist for Time magazine as well as a commentator for the Jim Leher News Hour and other media venues.

The story involves the sudden death of his daughter Amy who collapses on the treadmill during one of her workouts, she was only 38 years old, a physician and mother of three. Told in a non-sentimental way, Rosenblatt takes his readers through the first several months and years of moving in with his son-in-law and helping with child-care, which we quickly find out seems to be a full time job for both he and his wife. His son-in-law is also a doctor, a hand surgeon, and his new practice and role as a single father seems impossible. Rosenblatt not only helps with the children but he also continued teaching as a creative writing instructor on Long Island.

I don't want to give too much away about the book, but don't let its small size fool you. Making Toast is a touching book revealing the humility and humanity of everyday people as well as the fragility of life. Indeed, we find out at the end life does go on, not the same life as before, but a life nonetheless.

I recommend this book for pastors and lay leaders who are dealing with grief work, especially those working with children. Rosenblatt provides much food for thought as it comes to post-trauma grief and how people deal with similar issues. Along the same lines I recommend Joyce Carol Oates' recent memoir too, A Widow's Story since she deals with similar themes.