The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

27 Jun

readingpromisecoverThe Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

by Alice Ozma
Published by Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: May 2011

This book came out for four years ago and I missed the announcement on NPR Radio.  It’s okay because at a recent retirement party for Media Specialists in the district, one retiree announced that she had started on her TBR shelf early and was recommending the book.  She could not remember the title of the book or the author.  But she remembered it involved a father and daughter and The Reading Streak.  In a room full of librarians, we had the title within 30 seconds.  Not a problem.

The Reading Promise follows a nine year streak of a father reading to his daughter aloud every day.  Every day.  He read when he lost his voice.  He read early to avoid the late prom night.  He read on the phone if there was a sleepover issue.  Every day for over 3,000 days.  Every day.  As a parent, I can remember when my youngest asked for me to stop reading to him.  He wanted to read the book himself.  We read together, snuggled on the couch or in his room, just as I had with his sisters, but I stopped reading aloud.  Now I wonder if I should have let him dictate that.  On the other hand, it took two dedicated people to make sure it happened every night.

The book is not what I expected it to be.  Instead of a list of books and when they read them, it’s more vignettes of their lives interspersed with the desire to continue The Streak. The book has an odd feel.  Years of interaction with a person is reduced to a chapter or just a few pages.  This is not a straight autobiography, though it could be classified that way.  Instead it’s a journey to keep a commitment and what that commitment meant to Alice.

I do recommend the book with the caveat that you treat it as an autobiography.  If it’s disjointed in places, well our memory is not always step-by-step and different things trigger different responses.  If nothing else, all of us who read it are joined together in our love of reading.

Recommended: 8th Grade and Up

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