Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Looking Back

I'm so thankful that I joined the local chapter of Nanowrimo on Facebook (something I originally didn't think was worthwhile since I never really attend any of the get-togethers in Indianapolis - I write better in my own space with peace and quiet instead of companionship). A few weeks back, one of the members of the group posted information about a talk Lois Lowry will be giving at Butler University tonight. I'm thrilled that I was able to secure a ticket.

I've read the entire Giver series, A Summer to Die, Gossamer, and The Silent Boy. I checked our library's resources and discovered a memoir shelved in the Children's Biography section (although it would be equally interesting to adults interested in knowing more about the writer's life) called Looking Back: A Book of Memories. Each chapter is paired with a quote from one of her books and contains a few photos from her past with explanatory stories to accompany the photos. It is sort of like reading someone else's old-school scrapbook (none of the fancy decorative touches, but photos and their background stories).

The book explains her background and offers some reflections on what influenced her as an individual and a writer. For example, her older sister died of cancer at the tender age of twenty-eight, thus she was able to write knowledgeably about such sibling reactions in Number the Stars and A Summer to Die. She also discusses the loss of her son in 1995 to an airplane crash. The photos are adorable (both she and her father were trained photographers) and the stories are touching. I especially laughed at the story of the time she brought home a dead rodent, thinking it was merely cold, and placed it in the oven to warm it up. Yikes!

I'm glad I'll go into this lecture tonight knowing a bit more of her background and history. I'm not sure what the focus of her talk will be, but I'm excited to have the chance to hear her speak. When I went to look up parking information, I discovered another author scheduled for Friday - Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns). Sadly, all the tickets for that event have already been distributed. I'm kicking myself for not going to the Butler website and discovering information about that lecture sooner. A whole world of opportunities out there and I was unaware.

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