35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 1999
I recently remembered how much I loved this book when I read it at age 10 and decided that now, 35 years later, I should find it for my own daughter who is about to turn ten and who is a voracious reader and lover of great literature. I came immediately to Amazon.com and found 5 quite incredible comments about a book which obviously has touched others the way it has touched me. Seeing as the book is out of print, my next call was to the library and I found, much to my surprise, that this is not a children's book (which is how I remembered it) but was available in the adult section! I picked it up that evening and read it right away. How wonderful to read this book again as an adult. This is a story of a nine-year-old boy discovering what it means to be brave and finding, within himself, that to do the right thing is the most natural thing in the world for a truly "great" kid. Intensly personal, yet set in the historical context of the great gas explosion in Cleveland, 1944, it truly does have it all. Rereading this book gave me insight into myself as child who so loved this story and it gave me the opportunity to see it from an adult perspective with an understanding that I did not have as a child, as much as I appreciated it. I was surprised at the graphic description of the explosion and burn vicitms because I do not remember finding this traumatic reading as a child (it was probably more disturbing to me now!). My daughter is on page 100 and although there is a part of me that thinks "Should she really be reading this?" I know she will finish it with the same pleasure and amazement that I did. I hope all of you who read this years ago find it and re-read it as I did!
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2005
Do you want your opinion of the book tainted by someone who can't even spell "dull" and "bratty"?
This was the first full length novel I ever read.My mother brought it home from the library. I had no desire to read it , but she forced me to. I thank her for that now. The book is especially relevant to Clevelanders, but everyone can benefit from reading about the trials and tribulations of Morris Bird the Third . Filled with humor and angst, this is a classic example in American literature. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Robertson shortly before his death. I had the opportunity to thank him for writing such a fine novel. He was genuinely pleased, and even gave me an autographed copy of a later novel of his , "Barb".
I recommend this book to anyone 12 and older. You will not be disappointed.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2000
I was introduced to this book when the greatest teacher of my school career to date read aloud to the class 'The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread'. Morris Bird the eye-eye-eye and his heroic actions brought tears to my eyes. Sandra, the legless man, the poor burnt lady, and NOSMIRC KAERTS added to the fun of the book. It was such an amazing book that whenever our teacher announced that it was time to read, everyone's face brightened and eyes lit up. Each day, it became more intense as the journey started, continued, and then finally, the explosion hit. The description had everyone either wide-eyed or teary. The dialogue and the humor thrown in here or there added to the warmness of the book. And the determination of Morris Bird III was so realistic that each member of the class felt the way Morris felt. As it is out of print, 'The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread' is hard to get your hands on. But it made it all the more fun to hear. If you are looking for a funny, dramatic, descriptive, and overall unbelievably well-written book, 'The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread' is the book for you.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2008
I first read this book in 1973 and it, along with 14 more of Robertson's novels, are top-shelf volumes in my personal library. His writing is addictive. In my opinion, he's America's greatest "unknown" author.
This novel is the first of the Morris Bird III trilogy -- all truly American classics. I don't believe that the other two books -- "The Sum and Total of Now" and "The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened" have been reissued since their initial publication over 30 years ago, but readers who enjoyed "Sliced Bread" should definitely seek these out. And if you really want to learn more of the back story of Paradise Falls, Ohio (which weaves its way into many of Robertson's books), read the two volume "Paradise Falls."
Regarding the only one-star review to date, the reviewer's spelling speaks for itself. Consider the source of this one, readers. Meanwhile, enjoy "The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread".
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2000
After looking for years in every used bookstore for this title, I gave up. When I checked Amazon I discovered a number of other reviewers who held similar fondness for this book. My high school sweetheart had read this book and recommended it for the realistic view of a young boy's life. In fact, for a time, that sweetheart was my husband. We have long parted company, but the book has stayed with me in my heart. As I read review after review, the details of the long-ago story came flooding back to me. (See other reviews for details.) Enjoy the adventure-it is well worth your time.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2008
"The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread" (GTSSB) was published in 1965 at the beginning of a chaotic time in my life (college, war) and I missed it completely. I'm ashamed to say I had never even heard of it until recently. It has long been out of print and was only recently re-published by the estate of Don Robertson, who died in 1999. GTSSB jumps into the mundane life of nine year old Morris Byrd III in 1944 as America is beginning to look toward the end of World War II. Although the war touches young Morris only slightly, it wraps itself around his world in ways young children would notice. (Having a "C" gas ration sticker for your automobile conferred special status.)
The author tells us at the start the story will climax with the greatest industrial disaster in Cleveland history, the October 20, 1944 East Ohio Gas Co. explosion and fire. The actual fire takes up very little of the end of the story, which seems to have disappointed some of the reviewers here. GTSSB is not a story about a fire any more than "Huckleberry Finn" is a story about a river. It's a story about a nine-year old boy who commits an act of minor cowardice and decides, after hearing stories of historical courage from his teacher, to challenge himself to a personal journey of discovery. As Morris makes his way through unfamiliar streets to find his best friend whose family has moved, we meet other characters, some noble, some not, whose lives will touch one another on this grim Friday afternoon.
I got so caught up in the story that I pulled up a map of Cleveland on my computer and followed Morris' journey. The streets are still there exactly as described and the story is so plausible I felt it might have been a work of history rather than fiction. The characters are fictional but the rest of the story and tragedy, unfortunately, is not. GTSSB reminds me a lot of another favorite, "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving. Robertson's writing is not as fluid as Irving, but Robertson was a newspaper writer and tends toward more spare writing, not always a bad thing.
If you are inclined to episodic fiction this may not be the book for you. If you like character studies set against the backdrop of history, you owe it to yourself to discover this forgotton gem.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2003
And to think I was alone in the world of remembering this amazing book. I was on summer vacation from college when I read it, finding a beat up paperback copy quite by accident on a shelf in my parents house. Because we were Clevelanders, I thought at first that maybe this was just a "Cleveland" book, but it didn't take me too long to realize I was reading a classic. Morris' story, like Scout's in To Kill a Mockingbird, touches the human condition on all levels and has both an adult and kid sensibility which makes it a great read for all ages.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
My words would never do justice to this GREAT MAN and his perfect words. i love him so much that I could cry wanting to GIVE HIM AWAY to everyone. He allows you to live every sentence....See everything thing in the scene....smell the spring...and feel what is inside the character.
His book...PRAISE THE HUMAN SEASON.... should be in every High School, College, and home in america. Of thousands of books I have read ...THAT ONE... and ...THIS AUTHOR... are on my shelf in duplicate , in case one gets lost. He is an historian beyond words. You live in the TIME of the story and learn what it was like when life was a little more innocent. This is a swwt book..and you must find Dan Robertson...even if you have to get his books from a used book store. RUN TO FIND ONE... and THIS ONE is one of them !
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 1999
I read this book, at my mother's suggestion, when I was eleven. I have never forgotten Morris Bird the eye-eye-eye. I have been searching for this book for the last eight years and am waiting like a five year old at Christmas for it to arrive so that I can at last be reunited with a most beloved character. I would also strongly recommend reading the other Morris books to follow through his life.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2008
The late Mr. Robertson did an excellent job of conveying the thoughts of a nine-year-old boy, Morris Bird III, as well as covering a horrific disaster which occurred in Cleveland during October of 1944. Critics comparing this book to legendary stories such as "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Catcher in the Rye" are very apt. A wonderfully written, mostly male-driven adventure. The one problem I had with the book was the incorporation of some breathtakingly long paragraphs. One of these suckers goes on for 12 pages! It was quite taxing on my eyes. Despite this one drawback, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Robertson's book. Hopefully, HarperCollins will make the effort of republishing the two sequels. Without hesitation, I'll read them.