This is another memoir: I tend to alternate “heavier” reading during Lent with memoirs to lighten the load. This one is light as far as length and writing style goes, though the subject matter is hardly easy. A young wife and mother drops dead suddenly, and her parents — author Rosenblatt and his wife — move in to their son-in-law’s home to help their three small grandchildren cope with this unimaginable loss.
Making Toast is, as the title suggests, filled with the small details of a family’s daily life as they all move through grief. If I have any criticism about this book, it’s that, while the book depicts loss and grief in a believable and poignant way, the relationships among the family members seem almost too nice, smooth, and harmonious. Everyone, including the children, seems to be on his or her best behavior; there are none of the arguments, tension or stress I’d expect to see among a family who has just experienced such trauma.
Either Rosenblatt whitewashed the story to make family members come off as well as possible, or he really does have the most polite family in the world — even in the midst of a terrible loss. It’s at the opposite end of the memoir spectrum from the last book I read, Diana Joseph’s I’m Sorry You Feel That Way — rather than being a confessional tell-all that risks revealing far too much, Making Toast seems guarded and cautious. Which may be perfectly fine and probably healthier for all concerned — but in this society where everyone’s a memoir artist, maybe we’ve come to expect a little more in the way of soul-baring.