In Calvin Trillin's antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who had "a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day" and the mother who thought that if you didn't go to every performance of your child's school play, "the county would come and take the child." Now, five years after her death, her husband offers ...
In Calvin Trillin's antic tales of family life, she was portrayed as the wife who had "a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day" and the mother who thought that if you didn't go to every performance of your child's school play, "the county would come and take the child." Now, five years after her death, her husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-his loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page-an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, "managed to navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in." Though it deals with devastating loss, About Alice is also a love story, chronicling a romance that began at a Manhattan party when Calvin Trillin desperately tried to impress a young woman who "seemed to glow." "You have never again been as funny as you were that night," Alice would say, twenty or thirty years later. "You mean I peaked in December of 1963?" "I'm afraid so." But he never quit trying to impress her. In his writing, she was sometimes his subject and always his muse. The dedication of the first book he published after her death read, "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice." In that spirit, Calvin Trillin has, with "About Alice," created a gift to the wife he adored and to his readers.
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I was somewhat disappointed about this book, because I was expecting something valuable to learn from Alice Trillin's trajectory through life. She was apparently a remarkable human being, but instead of reading specific details about what made her special, I was left with primarily a superficial description of her looks, which just added to the obsession about physical beauty in these times.
May 22, 2007
Calvin Trillin is one of my favorite writers. His latest work, About Alice, is now one of my favorite books.
The subject of this slender book is Trillin's late wife, Alice, and his deep love for her. I felt as if I had known Alice and will not easily forget the anecdote about "the shoes."
This is one book I will read more than once.
May 3, 2007
Calvin Trillin tells a love story ?About Alice?
"About Alice" is a short book. Written by Calvin Trillin to honor is beloved wife, the eponymous Alice, who died five years ago, this slight tome is big of heart and largely a glance back at a woman with whom many readers have become acquainted through Trillin?s sizeable and entertaining body of work.
Perhaps it?s because Trillin wrote so often of his wife that he penned fewer than 100 pages about Alice for this volume. Whatever his reasons, the book is a tender homage and a caring portrait of a woman whose life touched many?and no one more than the author.
Trillin?s recollections are sentimental, his writing is warm and wry, and his subject comes across as real and not overwrought. The result is a book that introduces readers to a woman we wish we?d really known?or at least could have read about for hundreds of pages more. The result, really, is a look at the depth of Trillin?s love and loss.
Apr 24, 2007
A Loving Tribute
Not having previously read any of Calvin Trillin's books, I was not sure what to expect by this, but was pleasantly surprised. The story is a loving tribute to his wife, whom he truly admired and appreciated. It is a delightful, though sad, story of their life and love affair, told through the author's uncanny humor. A read you will definitely enjoy.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-02-26 Trillin's narration of his loving reminiscences of his late wife Alice might best be described as an unobtrusive narration: he steps back and lets the words speak for themselves. Unlike many other autobiographical narrators, he does not try to create the illusion of spontaneity or intimacy, as though speaking directly to the listener. He reads clearly and with expression, but it is always obvious that he is reading from a printed text. As a result, this audio offers the same experience as reading the printed version: the listener is deeply moved by the words and gets a vivid picture of this complex and admirable woman, but the narration itself does not add additional emotional nuance or insight beyond what is in the words themselves. But the words are so powerful that Trillin's love and admiration for Alice still shine through. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 30). (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-10-30 Trillin (A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme), a staff writer with the New Yorker since 1963, has often written about the members of his family, notably his wife, Alice, whom he married in 1965. A graduate of Wellesley and Yale, she was a writer and educator who survived a 1976 battle with lung cancer. In 1981, she founded a TV production company, Learning Designs, producing PBS's Behind the Scenes to teach children creative thinking; her book Dear Bruno (1996) was intended to reassure children who had cancer. A weakened heart due to radiation treatments led to her death on September 11, 2001, at age 63. Avoiding expressions of grief, Trillin unveils a straightforward, honest portrait of their marriage and family life in this slim volume, opening with the suggestion that he had previously mischaracterized Alice when he wrote her into "stories that were essentially sitcoms." Looking back on their first encounter, he then focuses on her humor, her beauty, her "child's sense of wonderment," her relationship with her daughters and her concern for others. Trillin's 12-page "Alice, Off the Page" was published earlier this year in the New Yorker, and his expansion of his original essay into this touching tribute is certain to stir emotions. (Jan. 2) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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