Friday, November 3, 2017

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Three Rivers Press

Reading this book posthumously—hers not mine—means every word, every thought experiment takes on a life of its own, an importance not originally intended. Even the subtext on the cover:
I have not survived against all odds.
I have not lived to tell.
I have not witnessed the extraordinary.
This is my story.

Rosenthal is contagious. Her joy, her exuberance. She is not annoying. What she’s been able to do is make me think, just possibly, we might someday to walk this road together, the ones of us still here.

Things Amy and I have in common:
Kenneth Koch
A few mutual acquaintances
An appreciation for the ordinary

That’s why her book has resonated with me. Even the prescient entries that when I read them I cringe:

Thanks for your 51 years and insights into life. You crammed a lot of observation into a short span. How many times can I write the word bittersweet? 

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