I wanted to like this book. I really did. As many of you know, I review and write a lot about grief here on Bound2Books so this memoir from Jason B. Rosenthal seemed like a no-brainer.
The problems I have with this memoir are too many to out way anything else really. Firstly, the subtle homophobia is just not okay. I don’t care if you’re wife died and you miss her dearly. You don’t get to make homophobic remarks. There really isn’t much more to say about that.
Secondly, the memoir sugar coats everything. You can tell the author is holding something back. Doesn’t want to reveal the truth. It makes me apathetic to story. I felt like I was about to read that birds dressed them every morning.
Now, you might be thinking that some people just have perfect love stories. Although, that was not this story. You can sense moments of tension and awkwardness throughout the book. Just look at how Rosenthal talks about the relationship he had with his father. He states that he will be there for his father financially, but rarely actually asks why his father is sad, lonely, or angry. I also get the impression that Rosenthal thinks his father should be grateful because he was put in a care facility. The fact that his father suffers from Parkinson’s disease, an illness known to affect moods causing anger, apathy, and anxiety is never discussed. Yet his father is described as exhibiting all those. I mean, if you hate your father, fine. But he can’t even say what he really thinks. Even this relationship is glossed over.
Lastly, the privilege. The yoga classes, the meditation classes, the fancy home in Chicago. The white savourism – we build stoves for poor Guatemalan people and they are so grateful! It is gross.
In the end, I finished this memoir out of frustration. And now that I have read it and reviewed it for you, I would suggest you don’t waste your time.
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