“Making Toast” by Roger Rosenblatt: A Must-Read Memoir
April 11, 2010
Before I had even decided to write about memoir, my journalism professor mentioned a new memoir that she had heard great buzz about: Roger Rosenblatt’s “Making Toast.”
I requested it from my local library over spring break, my mom picked it up for me a week later and I brought it back to school with me last weekend when I went home for Easter. The book is now seriously overdue, but if the large fines end up getting me banned from my library, at least I picked a book that made it worthwhile.
“Making Toast” originally appeared in The New Yorker as an essay. A year after his 38-year-old daughter and mother of three young children collapsed on the treadmill and died from an undiagnosed heart condition, Rosenblatt wrote about the year after her death and how he and his wife left their home on the south shore of Long Island to move to Maryland to help their son-in-law with their grandchildren.
The story is heartbreaking, but the writing is beautiful. On page 39:
“Kevin is in his late forties and built like a substantial piece of rope, the kind that ties ships to piers.”
I would never think to compare a man to a rope, but can’t you just picture Kevin?
Rosenblatt’s story had me hooked from the first page. At only 166 pages, it’s not a long read, but it’s still rare that I manage to read a whole book in one weekend during school. I don’t have children of my own (yet), but Rosenblatt’s writing made me feel the agony of what losing them would be like. Experiencing Rosenblatt’s loss is painful; however, the ability of his family to band together and live in a way that would make his daughter proud makes for one of the most moving books I’ve ever read.
I highly recommend reading “Making Toast,” but if you want the approval of an actual book critic, read Carolyn See’s review in The Washington Post (here’s a hint: she likes it too).