Thursday, September 07, 2006

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes nonfiction, and has published innumerable magazine articles and some children's books (I may have left something out, but I don't care). This small book is her commentary on life, specifically hers, organized alphabetically. Which means it's all about Amy.

It was OK. There were a few times where I said Yes! That is exactly how I feel! But mostly it was a study in not-like-ness. Oh, there were a few times when I said Ewww! or (eyebrows raised, eyes half-closed, mouth scrunched up) You Are Weird. But mostly I was saying You are not like me because you grew up in a different time and place and subculture. Not that I would dislike you, but we would not really understand one another most of the time. Other than being American and wives/mothers, we don't have very much in common. And after a whole book of that, I felt kind of aloof, because everybody gets it but me, and I don't want to get it.

And she can be a bit vulgar. Mostly it was at the beginning, but that's another not-like, off-putting thing. It's like the one scene in a movie that takes the rating from PG to R.

And then there's the part(s) where she invites you to email her about certain specific things. So I thought, why not? (still looking to find alikeness; consistent if not bright.) So I went to the website and did the little email thing and then--voila!--the email bounced. Not connected or something. Kind of like someone saying, Call me, and then leaving the phone off the hook. Even more alienating.

So...I wouldn't read it again because it's not all about me? I suppose. At some level, I read to connect to the author, to discover alikeness, to find myself or validate the self I have already found. To discover a profound disconnect, then, is not satisfactory.

But at least it was organized.


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