Tuesday Tome Week 14 – About Grace

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About Grace by Anthony Doerr is really not just about a girl name Grace. It is about fathers and daughters, runaway fathers, separation and psychology, precognition, dreams, Alaska, and the Grenadines. And, mostly, it is about snowflakes and insects.

This is Doerr’s first novel and critics agree that it is something special. Personally, when I read it, I felt transported and enlightened. I felt inspired even more to invest in family.

About Grace

David Winkler, the main character, learns the hard way that family is not so much what you are given but what you are able to keep. He also said something that touched me so much, I put the book down and went to a different place to cry. He said that grandfathers are successful fathers who have been promoted to the next level.  Continue reading »

Given the fact that my father never met my children, for several reasons, this rang close to home for me, no pun intended. Details, details, details. I thought I was at peace with his death, but time has a way of opening even more little drawers in our hearts to uncover hurts and pain we stuffed over the years, pain we cannot even remember how we put away.

If you want the plot, it is simple, but I will not reveal everything. Winkler dreams the future. He dreams scenes in which people die, for instance, and then a few days later he lives these scenes in real life. When he dreams that his daughter will drown in his arms during a flood, he leaves his wife with their baby and does not return for 25 years. That’s right. Twenty-five years.

Will he be able to track down his daughter? Did she survive the flood? If so, will she take him back into her life? Is his wife still around? Those questions are for you to find out as you read.

I am leaving out a lot of details and a parade of characters which are very well sketched. Doerr writes well. That’s an understatement. But the man has received so many accolades and awards, I don’t know what else to say. He is a great writer. There. Great is better than good, right? I could even say he is brilliant at what he does.

This book is so enthralling, so captivating, I could not put it down. I finished it in two days.

Tuesday Tome Week 13 – Four Seasons in Rome

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Anthony Doerr is quickly becoming my favorite writer. Last year, I read “All The Light We Cannot See” and was really touched by it. Now I know it was not just the plot, it was also the way Doerr writes. Because “Four Seasons in Rome” is very different from “All the Light…” You see, “Four Seasons…” is a travel memoir, while “All the Light…” is a work of fiction, a novel.

Two very different pieces, connected by the same author. It is clearly his writing that can turn any story, true or fictional, into an experience that enriches life. His writing grips me and haunts me and helps me see life differently. It inspires, energizes, and changes my perspective on the banal details of life. No wonder Doerr has received several literary awards, including the Pulitzer for “All the Light…” and no wonder he was named one of the 20 best young American novelists by Granta. He is that good.

Four Seasons in Rome

The subtitle of “Four Seasons in Rome” is “On twins, insomnia, and the biggest funeral in the history of the world.” So what is going on? The day Doerr’s wife gave birth to twins, they received an envelope in the mail, offering him a fellowship to live in Rome for one year and write something. Anything. The offer came from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. How could they say no?  Continue reading »

The parental experience gets described in a funny and realistic way, with its peaks and valleys. The insomnia – the same. I had some harrowing times with my children when they were babies, so I can totally relate. I can only imagine twins are double the output. In fact, his wife faints once, having become dehydrated and completely exhausted.

The biggest funeral in the history of the world is that of Pope John Paul II. He died while Doerr lived in Rome with his family. So yes, the book happened in 2004-2005. Doerr describes the scene as he experienced it from Rome. Their apartment was 500 yards from the Vatican.

Rome itself gets written about beautifully, from architecture to modern traffic, to food, wine and the old people’s reaction to the twins. Che belli! Che carini! (What beauties! What cuties!) I can hear Italians saying those words, too.

It’s a funny thing, I met my husband in March 2004 and since it is March right now, we have been reminiscing about some of the things we were going through in 2004-2005 as we were getting to know each other and decided we should spend our lives together. This book paralleled these discussions with my husband, as Doerr goes through the horrible tsunami of December 2004, some of the details of the Iraq war, and the whole process of choosing a new pope.

This book only makes me want to read more of Doerr’s productions and I am in luck, because the gentleman has written several other pieces. You will probably hear about it right here in the next few months.