Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review #9: The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

Hello my literary comrades! How have you been? Well I hope :). Lets get onto this current review. Get on your reading glasses, sit in your comfortable chairs, and lets get started!

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma, is a memoir told through a collection of stories from her childhood up until recently. It is at first glance about a pact Ozma and her father made starting when she was little, for her father to read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. What started out simple turned into "The Streak", something that continued until Ms. Ozma's first day of college. But underneath this, the book is about a woman and her relationship with her father, and how he shaped her into who she is. 

I'm normally not one for memoirs, but this one is fantastic. It ranks high as my 2nd favorite, next to Running With Scissors. I love how this memoir was told through vignettes from Ms. Ozma's life, yet they were all tied together through "The Streak." I also loved how every chapter had what day the father-daughter duo were into their streak, coupled with a literary quote that complemented the chapter. You see the author growing up, watching everything around her and being subtly influence by her father, who is strange, yet not truly strange. You see how close these two are and while that can be a great thing, their relationship quietly pushed people away sometimes. You see the common love of reading, and how it kept them close. Ms. Ozma also shows that you are never too old to have your parent read to you, and how important books and literature truly are.

Now I know that he isn't a character, seeing as this is a memoir, but I love Mr. Brozina. He is such a wonderful father and an interesting person. He raised his children with love and care, and while at times he was oblivious and did things in a strange manner, his love for his children and reading shone through and showed you don't need to go by the conventions of parenting to be a truly great parent. Ms. Ozma show spunk and wit throughout the memoir. While she is only 22, she has an old soul, with knowledge and wisdom and goes through her memories with great vigor and remembrance. Plus her name is just cool, and what makes it cooler is that it's part of her actual name (Alice Ozma are her middle names, which she chooses to go by.)

Literature, and it's importance, permeates. I know I've said that some theme or other permeates throughout all the other books I've reviewed, but it is true. You see Ms. Ozma and her father sharing their passion for literature, and how it seems as they both age and the years go by, the world finds reading irrelevant. It is sad to watch Mr. Brozina, a elementary school librarian, watch this with a sadness that makes you want to cry. But in "The Streak," a hope is lit and you realize that books will never be irrelevant, as long as you keep the passion alive. 

I LOVED this memoir. It was a shame to put it down, but I highly recommend you pick it up and read it, for it will tough the very deepest crevices of your heart.

Until next time my comrades

Viva la literature!

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