Morningstar: Growing Up with Books

Norton. Aug. 2017. 192p. ISBN 9780393254815. $22.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393254822. LIT
This book is author Hood's (The Book That Matters Most) tribute to the books that shape us, those we find exactly when we need them, and those that take us beyond our own lives. The child of immigrants, Hood describes growing up in a dying mill town, in the Italian enclave of Natick, RI, during the 1960s and 1970s. A reader from the moment she picked up her older brother's book, Hood was a quiet child who found solace in the titles she devoured—the bigger, the better. From Herman Wouk to Sylvia Plath to John Steinbeck, Hood admits to reading widely and without discernment, the length of a volume her marker for satisfaction. Each chapter here revolves around a memorable title, detailing how it inspired Hood's early understanding of the world, war, sex, love, and life. The stories are poignant, touching, and enlightening, revealing just as much about America as they do about Hood's reading habits.
VERDICT While there is a tradition of memoir told through a love of books, Hood provides a new, rich glimpse into an Italian American childhood. A treat for bibliophiles and readers of all genres. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]
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