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Showing 1-10 of 74 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 166 reviews
on May 4, 2013
When Roger Rosenblatt's daughter, Amy Rosenblatt Solomon, died at 38, Roger and wife Ginny moved into the mother-in-law's suite of Harrison Solomon's house to help care for and provide loving continuity for the kids. Making Toast is an account of that period.

I came to know of Roger Rosenblatt through his essays on The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour on PBS. Now, I was curious as to how the Rosenblatts' lives changed with this new role, how they adjusted, what they did every day, how they envisioned the future, and many other questions relating to their new circumstance.

Reading this account, I was moved to tears at times, but also laughed at Roger's portrayal of himself as a humble, bumbling servant of the youngest child, a toddler. I identified with his role as grandparent-anthropologist, as he learned the culture of child-rearing all over again in the new millennium. What do they like to eat, read, watch on TV? What games to they play? What are their toys? Who are their heroes? What is a school day like for the elder two? As a childcare-providing grandparent myself, I identified with the loss of easy-breezy retirement time in service to the greater good.

This book was recommended to me as one I might include on my Midlife Fiction page on Facebook, ( because it illuminates the experience of navigating the second half of life. I've enjoyed Roger Rosenblatt's writing for many years, and this is no exception, although it feels insensitive to celebrate a book - however good! - that is born of such grief and trauma. My condolences and best wishes to the family.
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on December 8, 2013
I knew Amy when she was three, four and five years old. She was a cute and sweet little girl full of life. To find out three years after her death at the age of 38 was a shock to me! Then three days later my oldest friend, Diane calls me to tell me her 40-year-old daughter Loraine (Purr-Purr) had lost her battle with cancer of the appendix. It was all just too much for me. I was watching my grandchildren and their father had come home for lunch and he sees me standing in the kitchen crying my eyes out which was strange to him because I generally laughed...not cry. At that point I was mourning both of these young women who had left children behind. Amy three little ones and Purr-Purr a 16-year-old. It was more than I could handle and the only thing I could do was cry.

This book was one I wanted to read but agonizingly did so. Getting into the book and reading the stories that Roger told about Amy took the agony away. That is until I stopped reading and was in the present...where Amy is no more. It was a great delight for me to read what Amy had been doing in her life. I cannot understand the depth of pain Roger, Ginny and Diane must feel and I will never act as if I do. But I will say that there is no pain worse then the pain of a parent out living a child. Any parent would gladly give their life for that child, especially when there are grandchildren involved. I know I would for Stephanie and if Edward and Dana had children I would feel the same.

It was such a painful delight to read this book because I had not seen Amy since she was four and five years old. She was a cute lively child and her personality came through even then. My son was shy and a little younger then Amy but she always played with Eddie and made him feel comfortable. What Ginny, Roger, Carl, John, Harris and the children experienced is one I would dread. Roger tells so many stories about Amy you feel as if she is a personal friend that you have known all your life. Amy was a very thoughtful person and it comes through time and time again in the telling of stories. Roger mentioned that they went to Union Station to pick John up for Christmas and while sitting in the car there was the feeling as if a hand was on his hand...he stops there and does not dwell or delve into it but I believe he felt it was Amy. I believe it was Amy too because of experiences I have had with the death of close loved ones.

Roger shows how the children reacted to their mother's death, in different ways...and different times. His assigned morning duty is to "Make Toast." One morning the subject is broached about them leaving. The children said that they had to stay forever. That touched me because that is what I told my husband, mother, sister and cousin on the night I found out I had cancer. It will bring you to tears more than once because it is so heartbreaking. Then he will tell about happy times with the children. Taking them places and doing things with them. Visiting them at school and talking to their classes about the things he has experienced and making it interesting for three, four, five, six or seven year olds. Their classmates call him "Boppo" just as Jessica, Sammy and James do! The children are seeing a therapist and are always allowed to speak of their mother. "Making Toast" was not as painful as I had imagine it would be. I ended up enjoying the stories Roger told about Amy and her children, husband, father, mother, brothers, sister-in-law and nephews! It ended as it started with Roger at his appointed duty of "Making Toast!"
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on October 24, 2015
A true story of the resilience of a loving family who puts the FAMILY first. A wonderful account of a son-in-law who accepts the help of his wife's parents in grieving and going on with life after the sudden death of his wife. A terrific tribute to the mechanics of how a sensitive and supportive family works together to face the reality of losing a mother, wife daughter, sister suddenly without warning. They rise to the occasion and manage to find ways to help each other overcome loss and grief. A wonderful account and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on April 23, 2016
Roger Rosenblatt has always seemed a bit disengaged as I know him only from his PBS News Hour commentary. This memoir of living with his son-in-law and three grandchildren in the year following the sudden death of his daughter, brings him closer to me but still oddly distant. The passages about his young grandchildren ring true, respectful, amusing and compassionate.
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on February 24, 2010
I am not a fan of Roger Rosenblatt's novels. But for years I enjoyed his NewsHour essays. So yesterday (Febrary 23rd) when he appeared on the PBS NewsHour, interviewed by Jeffrey Brown, I knew I had to read this memoir. 24 hours later I have finished it.(And, by the way, a few reviewers are calling it a novel. It is not.)
In December 2008 Roger and Ginny Rosenblatt received a phone call from their son-in-law. Their 38-year-old daughter, Amy, dropped dead, a medical doctor and the mother of three young children.
On the 20th of December 2009 (just two months ago) I received a phone call from my older daughter that her mother, my former wife, had died very, very suddenly. She would otherwise have been on her way from Maine to spend Christmas with this daughter and her family. Instead it was I who flew from Miami to Pennsylvania where we did our best to make Christmas.
I write this because I have just sent each of my children a copy of "Making Toast," thinking that in doing so they might find a little comfort. My older daughter is a writer who, I hope, will some day write somethii\ng like this about her wonderful mom, a fabric artist.
This is just a wonderful book. I have not been able to put it down. Roger and Cindy Rosenblatt move into their dead daughter's house and pick up where she left off. There are some wonderfully humorous moments in this book. And some very poignant ones.
Roger Rosenblatt has a very accessible style of writing. I highly recommend this book, not only to those who might have grieved or are grieving but for those, like myself, who admire what their adult children are doing in their respective lives.
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on August 30, 2010
I have not read any of Roger Rosenblatt's other works but this one intrigues me. The occasion for this book is the unexpected death of Rosenblatt's daughter Amy.

This chapterless book reveals vignettes of loss-moments embedded in the ordinary life of raising grandchildren. Like grief, it is not a narrative. It is however, Robert-Fulghum-variety ordinary meeting poignant moments of mortal honesty. There is a unique emotional intermittency in this bound collection of seemingly disconnected paragraphal reflections. Like loss, one emotion doesn't have staying power but multiple emotions remain simultaneously.

A book like this leaves the reader impressed by the author's descriptive vocabulary, uncertain because of the feeling of voyeurism in the intimate loss in this family, annoyed at the endless mention of celebrities, and frustrated because of Rosenblatt's approach of sporatically lowering the drawbridge into his life and then quickly raising it again lest we get too close.

It seems to me that this is a book written by a man who is understandably well-fortified, but whose heart is on the verge of fully breaking. I think Rosenblatt tries to manage the experience of grief with words; but my sense is that grief cannot be managed - it manages us.

I felt the closest to this author when near the end (pg 156), he describes life as a marathon and something that must be endured. This felt like a moment of breakthrough; I am not sure if it was me to him or him to me.
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This is the story of Rosenblatt and his wife coming to the aid of their son-in-law and grandchildren after their daughter dies unexpectedly. While the premise is definitely sad, this book is very uplifting.

First of all, it reminds all of us that life does go on. No matter what happens in our lives, time does not stop, although I know we often wish it would.

The three young children will still need to be bathed, fed, and loved. So Rosenblatt and his wife move in with the family to try and help keep the household going. The children are too young, for the most part, to understand the death of their mother, but the three adults are struggling with their grief. Yet, they try to keep a routine for the children.

Second of all, the story reminds us that others have gone through such a tragedy before and have lived through it. In fact, it's the nanny who tells them: You are not the first to go through such a thing and you are able to handle it better than most.

I know that we each feel grief on an individual basis. But I have often found comfort in the idea that others have been through "this" (whatever it is at the time) and have managed to move on with their lives.

Death can often tear a family apart. It is a beautiful testimony to this family that they instead were able to come together.
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on February 26, 2010
I found this short read to be touching and heartbreaking,yet admirable and joyful in spots. I can only guess at the loss,horror and sadness and the realization that it will never "get better".
I imagine this was a difficult step for a private man who is not one for expressing his inner thoughts,feeling when they are anything but positive. I only hope it was therapeutic and in some small way way a benefit to him. I think they (the Rosenblatts) are the best any family could hope for in such a nightmare. The fact that they were there for their grandchildren,son-in-law and the daughter they lost is a gift. The wonderful gift of a loving family,which we would all hope to have around us at such a time.
Profound in places,a bit dry in others it is a worthwhile and moving read overall. The simple silly joys of family and small children was heart-warming. While the Solomon children lost a mother, they were not alone and the people who pulled together to support them was inspiring. I think they have all honored Amy in the best possible way.
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on February 24, 2011
I have already written a letter to the author of MAKING TOAST, attempting to tell him what a beautiful book it is and how much it meant to me. I'm not sure I succeeded. But it is a brave book, wonderfully written, about family tragedy, about loss and grief. It's also very much about carrying on in the face of these things, about a family coming closer together, about sacrifices and major life changes made, all in the hopes of filling sudden empty places in a young family's life. Roger Rosenblatt is a writer who has mastered his craft, but he is also a still angry and grieving father and grandfather. MAKING TOAST is his testament to a life cut short - his daughter's - and a record of how he, his wife and his sons stepped in to help with the raising of his young grandchildren. This is a ten-star read that you will not soon forget. - Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
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on January 22, 2017
I really liked this book. It is about a family facing the death of a loved one. The daughter of the main character Amy dies and her mother and father take care of her four children. It explores how each character deals with Amy's death in a very realistic manner.
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