The first thing to say is, Cathy Rentzenbrink is a true advocate of reading. This may be a personal memoir but the value and importance of books is to the forefront throughout. Indeed, for avid readers, and even for the not so avid, this book may be viewed as a reader’s treasure trove.
The dialogue opens smoothly, with great ease and charm. Straight away the reader is treated to a vast range of snippets from well known, familiar, treasured, tales, classics included. It is a delightful run through many favourite stories. The author’s enthusiasm for reading and books in general is readily apparent and will convince even the most minimalistic of readers to explore and venture further.
Through extracts and quotes, with intervening comments and observations, Cathy Rentzenbrink begins to share her own personal story. Her emotions, concerns, fears, and joys are evident throughout, though in such a way as not to disturb the flow or reader’s enjoyment. In fact she is circumspect and often simply provides a hint of what is really going on. Nevertheless, readers are able to empathise as they continue the journey together. They will share some of her heartache, concerns, and frustrations.
In the first half the author relies heavily upon her eclectic range of reading to convey her account of life. Indeed the range is vast covering a massive selection of genre, which she honestly and unashamedly shares. Her reading does venture into many areas some, more traditional readers, may shy away from. However, there is no offence or undue criticism. The second part develops into a more traditional style of memoir with fewer quotes and extracts, though sufficient remain to satisfy any book lover. Her work experiences are more detailed providing those unfamiliar with her world, especially the book retail environment, a glimpse behind-the-curtain. These are truly enlightening and help comprehend the challenges many face unseen.
With constant little clips and insights the reader will follow the author’s life from childhood up to the current day. It is a journey of mixed fortunes and emotions. The author’s honesty, self-delving and introspection make this a relatable memoir within which many readers, if they are honest with themselves, will recognise attributes they can identify with.
The book ends with implied heartfelt encouragement for the reader to pursue their own lives, especially the gift of books and reading.
The book is currently on pre-order for 17 September 2020.
Pre-ordered is available from several book retailers, including Amazon. The publisher Pan Macmillan has provided links to each which may be accessed here.
The following are Amazon pre-order links:
An internet search of the book’s ISBN: 9781509891528 will provide full details.
The edition read was obtained by the kind generosity of the author and publisher from NetGalley.