Saturday, August 10, 2013

Model Book Review

Last year I was invited to a special writing workshop introducing Debbie Dean's new book, What Works in Writing Instruction: Research and Practices.

As part of the workshop, we did some model writing. We looked at various book reviews from NPR, then we wrote our own versions based on what we noticed the reviewers doing.

Don’t Give Up on Memory

I’ve only fainted one time in my life—after I gave birth to my first-born son. A be-scrubbed nurse had just told that he was dying, and she was trying to get me on my feet so I could see him for the last time. As I came out of the faint, I saw my husband and the nurses’ concerned faces looking down at me, and . . . I couldn’t remember what was happening and why I was on the floor. Within minutes, my memory came crashing back, but I will never forget the immense weight of it as I realized what was happening.

Memories can do this. They can be heavier than mountains. They can add burdens and pain to everyday life. Some of us may wish that we could get rid of our memories and unburden ourselves. We long to be free.

In The Giver by Lois Lowry, an entire nation has done just that. They’ve passed on the mantle of remembering to just one person—know as the Receiver of Memories. At first the memory free society seems like utopia. There is no anger, no violence, no fear. None of the baggage that comes with memory.

But as the book continues, Lowry reminds us that memories are also about love, kindness, compassion, ethics, even basic morality. People without memories are people without a conscience. Memory becomes something to treasure and to fight for.

As for me, I re-read this book again immediately after I first read it, and then I got up at 5 o'clock in the morning and took a two-hour walk to think about it. It disturbed me, it shook me, it made me think. Even with all the painful memories I have -- particularly the death of my infant son -- I would never want to give up my memories -- they are just too precious.
If you are a person with memories, whether they are sweet, bittersweet or downright painful, you must read this book.

I don't remember exactly why I was highlighting certain sections -- I think blue was personal connections, green was ? yellow was summary, and pink was my reaction to the book? I'll have to go back, find my notes, and check. 

No comments: