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Making Toast: A Family Story Paperback – Feb 7 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (Feb. 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061825956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061825958
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Uskoski on April 5 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, from the opening sentence to the ending. Although the story is sad, reading the candid
account of this family's experience, surviving their devastating loss, brought a sense of peace and dignity
to the act of honouring one's loved one and moving forward with grace.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louise Jolly TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 31 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thirty-eight-year-old Amy Rosenblatt Solomon dropped dead on her treadmill December 8, 2007 at 2:30 in the afternoon from an undiagnosed, asymptomatic, rare heart condition. Amy was a wife to hand surgeon Harris, a paediatrician herself and mother to three children: 7-year-old Jessica; 5-year-old Sammy; and 20-month-old James whom the family affectionally called "Bubbies."

The story is narrated by Roger Rosenblatt, Amy's father who teaches writing at the university level a couple of times a week. Roger's wife, Ginny, is a retired school teacher.

After Amy's sudden and unexpected death, Harris and Ginny leave their home unoccupied to move in and live with Harris and their grandchildren. We meet Amy's brothers, the wives, the nieces and nephews, co-workers, colleagues and a raft of other characters who knew and loved Amy. But it is Roger, Ginny, Harris and the three children that the memoir focuses on. Each of the six people deal with Amy's death in a different way which, as well know, is just how grief works. We don't all grieve in the same way or over the same length of time.

Roger and Ginny realize one day that "they" are living their daughter's life, the life with HER children and husband that SHE should have been living. Each of them discovers things about Amy that they never knew and Ginny feels badly for Jessica who will never get to enjoy those "mother and daughter moments."

Harris seems more in the background, returning to work and rather stoic, he just seemingly goes through the motions of everyday living because that's what he's supposed to do for his three motherless children.

Rosenblatt's memoir is written with clarity, honesty and is at times humorous making the book a non tear-jerking read. I believe it is Roger's humour and wit that weaves together, from the remnants of their old life, a whole new family!"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 132 reviews
95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
Lovely, Lyrical, Touching Dec 4 2009
By HeyJudy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
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.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A Memoir of Surviving Jan. 8 2010
By Wendi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
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.

And yet, go on they do, making toast, taking children to and from their lessons and play dates, eating together, loving each other, and keeping Amy's memory alive, trying to raise her children as she would have had them raised.

This is a story of grief, pain, sorrow, and grace, love within a strong family, the support of friends, and the laughter of small children, as well their own unique and heartbreaking ways of grieving.
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
It's hard to let go of someone, even after they're gone Nov. 30 2009
By amazonbuyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
"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.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Well Written April 24 2010
By Tara - Published on Amazon.com
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
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
a grief observed March 7 2010
By BrianB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is a carefully constructed book, an elegiac, a memoir of grief, and yet, a memoir curiously distanced from emotion. Rosenblatt is a sympathetic figure for an author, a kindly and loving father who has just lost his daughter, but his story about his family after her death did not fully engage me.

The author is an accomplished writer, who tells us that he writes for famous magazines, publishes books, and teaches writing at Stony Brook. His sentence structure is skillful, his syntax polished, and his unique voice resoundingly clear. Although he deals with a painful tragedy, he does not overwhelm us with sorrow, or regale us with pathos. He details his life that carries on in the face of terrible loss.

On the front cover of my edition, E.L. Doctorow describes this book as "written with such restraint." I found that the restraint was too great. The author writes that he is angry at God, but as a reader I wanted to feel his anger. During moments of deep emotion, like the time that he and sons stood, arms around each other, crying for their lost sister, the author veers off into asides that puncture the emotion, derailing the moment. In the same paragraph where the men weep together, he writes that the parents rely on one of the brothers "for assessments of current movies." Perhaps this is like real life, the juxtaposition of the tragic with the mundane, but it is enmeshed in these pages to the point of neutralization.

The Rosenblatts certainly know lots of famous people. We learn that Meredith Brokaw is in his wife's book club. I was hoping to learn more about his wife's feelings, and how she survived in this sadness. Even when he mentions celebrities, Mr. Rosenblatt maintains that restraint, to the point that I don't know what these people mean to him. He receives a letter from "Shirley Kenny, the president of Stony Brook." Not Shirley Kenny, my friend, or Shirley Kenny, my kind and thoughtful boss?

During interruptions, I found that I could put this book down without regret, and pick it up again without eagerness. I finished it so that I could write a review. It is a well written, thoughtful story of one family, which unfortunately left this reader with a catharsis of emotion. The abundant reviewers were quite taken with it, and perhaps you will be too. It is excerpted in The Best American Magazine Writing of 2009, so the literati think highly of it. So who am I to criticize it? It didn't appeal to me.

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