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Making Toast Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 16, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 16, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Family tragedy is healed by domestic routine in this quiet, tender memoir. When his daughter Amy died suddenly at the age of 38 from an asymptomatic heart condition, journalist and novelist Rosen-blatt (Lapham Rising) and his wife moved into her house to help her husband care for their three young children. Not much happens except for the mundane, crucial duties of child care: reading stories, helping with schoolwork, chasing after an indefatigable toddler who is the busiest person I have ever known, making toast to order for finicky kids. Building on the small events of everyday life, Rosenblatt draws sharply etched portraits of his grandchildren; his stoic, gentle son-in-law; his wife, who feels slightly guilty that she is living her daughter's life; and Amy emerges as a smart, prickly, selfless figure whose significance the author never registered until her death. Rosenblatt avoids the sentimentality that might have weighed down the story; he writes with humor and an engagement with life that makes the occasional flashes of grief all the more telling. The result is a beautiful account of human loss, measured by the steady effort to fill in the void. (Feb. 16)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Rosenblatt wrote his "hauntingly lovely memoir" (Christian Science Monitor) as a collection of journal-style entries--images, conversations, scenes, and moments of quiet contemplation, ranging from a few sentences to several pages--that encompass the 14 months following Amy's death. Though Rosenblatt's subject matter is weighty, he writes of his grief with grace and sensitivity, while lacing his anger and disbelief with humor and warmth. However, the critics differed with respect to Rosenblatt's writing style: while the Christian Science Monitor found it oddly impassive, the Los Angeles Times characterized it as expressive and eloquent. The Chicago Sun-Times also thought that Rosenblatt's levity seemed somewhat out of place. Yet in the end, Making Toast is just as much a celebration of life as a reckoning with death.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 2nd prt. edition (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006182593X
  • ASIN: B005CDV40U
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By HeyJudy VINE VOICE on December 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Roger Rosenblatt's reputation is well-established. He is one of the finest writers living in the United States today. So I expected his latest book, MAKING TOAST to be interesting and touching, and touching and interesting it is.

Rosenblatt gives the history of Amy, his young, brilliant, beautiful daughter, and of her sudden death.

He and his wife immediately, instantly, abandoned their own rich existences to move into their daughter's home. They wanted to assist their son-in-law with the three very young children, one barely a year old.

Rosenblatt and his wife Ginny, through their actions, show themselves to be people of the greatest empathy, self-sacrifice, generosity and sensitivity, trying to find the balance of their places in their new home.

I have attended lectures that Rosenblatt had given at the State University at Stony Brook, where he is a Distinguished Professor. From this report, it is astounding to see this brilliant man evolve into "Boppo," which is what his grandchildren call him, a nickname quickly adopted by their friends. He is the creator of silly songs, the chef of the perfect piece of toast. (Hence the book's title.)

This is a lovely book, a touching and lyrical book. MAKING TOAST is about the power of love.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of how a nonreligious family copes with the unbearable loss of a loving and well loved daughter, wife, and mother.

Amy Rosenblatt Solomon is happily married, works two days a week as a physician so she can devote more of her time to her young family, to whom she is devoted. The youngest of her three children is only year old. Yet Amy dies suddenly while on the treadmill in her family home, with two of her children in the room with her as the only witnesses. It is inexplicable, unbearable, impossible, but it is reality, and the family has no choice but to cope.

Her parents, Roger and Ginny Rosenblatt, move in with their grandchildren and their son-in-law to help. This is an account of the first year.

It is honest, seasoned with humour and darkness. The page after Rosenblatt tells us just how severely he cursed the God he doesn't believe cares about human beings anyway, we read of the adjustments grandparents make to having children in their lives again, in this case, the talking toys that have re-entered their lives and embarrass them by speaking up from within their suitcases at the airport.

They learn where the toys, tape, and tools are kept, how everybody likes their breakfast, and they learn again that children have no respect for sequential thoughts.

They also learn that belief that things will be better after a year is a delusion. Grief is a lifelong process, and their therapist tells them, a year is no time at all. A year is harder because that is when you realize it isn't really going to get better. This is how life will be from now on.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Making Toast" is the memoir of life after the loss. Even though it is well written, the prose didn't capture me and pull me forward. I pushed forward because I wanted to find out more about Amy and those she left behind.

The biggest lesson I extracted from "Making Toast" is that, even though life moves forward after the death of a wonderful human being, time does not necessarily "heal" the wound or help us fill the void.

I was also left full of deep admiration for Roger & Ginny Rosenblatt and Harrison Solomon (Amy's husband). They were able to come together in such a loving and respectful way in order to keep the children from floundering in the midst of a very confusing loss. I have great respect for adults who sacrifice in order to keep the next generation whole in body, mind, and spirit. That said, I'm sure neither the Rosenblatts nor Mr. Solomon consider their actions sacrificial.

I know the Rosenblatt's aren't perfect, but I don't think we could find a more respectful set of "in-laws" on the planet. Amy was a wonderful person because, in the best of ways, the "apple didn't fall far from the tree."

This is not the kind of book that keeps one riveted. But is not a read that you will regret either. Those who've recently been through such a loss may find "Making Toast" helpful.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be well-written but self-indulgent; it held me but my problem with it was the excessive name dropping through out and the entitlement of the author. I think the children's nanny said it all when she said that such tragedy happens to many but that they were better equipped to handle it than most and this was pointed out over and over. The family was were financially very secure, had many many friends and colleagues including the children's teachers etc for support and dropping names everyone recognizes, the free time of the grandparents to be able to be there for their grandchildren. All of this took away from my getting really into the book. Everyone was wonderful from his self-proclaimed beautiful wife, to his brilliant grandchildren, and even himself etc according to the author. It would not be a helpful book to give someone who has had a similar loss. As I write this I do not intend to diminish the terrible loss and grief of the family to lose such a wonderful young wife, mother, daughter and sister. It seemed that the author had a hard time really expressing his grief and that it was a memoir of the whole family. I still would recommend it
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