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About Alice by Calvin Trillin Review

Title: About Alice

Author: Calvin Trillin

First published January 1, 2006

96 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781400066155 (ISBN10: 1400066158)

Rating: 4.01


Calvin Trillin’s About Alice recounts the life of his beloved wife, Alice Trillin. Her quirky habits and endearing personality were often the focus of Trillin’s humorous anecdotes, but this book delves deeper, revealing her as a gifted educator, writer, and stunningly beautiful woman.

Trillin’s love for Alice is evident in every word, chronicling a romance that began at a Manhattan party and lasted until her untimely death. Despite the devastating loss, this book is a celebration of their love story and Alice’s remarkable life.

A touching tribute to a remarkable woman and a testament to the enduring power of love.

About the Author

Meet Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin, a multi-talented American journalist, humorist, and novelist. While he is widely recognized for his humorous musings on food and eating, his repertoire also includes serious journalism, witty poetry, and several books of fiction.

Trillin received his education from public schools in Kansas City before heading to Yale University. During his time there, he led the student newspaper and became a member of Scroll and Key.

After graduating in 1957, he even served as a trustee of the university. Following a brief stint in the U.S. Army, Trillin landed a reporter job at a magazine before joining the staff of another publication in 1963.

One of Trillin’s earliest works, the book “An Education in Georgia,” chronicles his reporting on the racial integration of the University of Georgia. From 1967 to 1982, Trillin authored the magazine’s popular “U.S. Journal” series, where he covered a wide range of serious and quirky local events taking place throughout the United States.

Editoral Review

About Alice by Calvin Trillin: A Tribute to Love and Loss

Calvin Trillin, a former staff writer for The New Yorker and The Nation, is known for his witty and satirical writing style. In About Alice, a memoir that Trillin wrote as a tribute to his late wife, he takes on a more serious and poignant topic.

The book was first published on January 1, 2006, by Random House. The memoir recounts the life of Alice Trillin, a remarkable woman who was not only a successful magazine editor but also a devoted wife and mother of two daughters.

The book is concise, comprising just over 80 pages of text, and is not structured in a linear way. Instead, Calvin Trillin muses about his life with Alice, how he met her, the life they shared together, and the period of her illness and death.

The book’s strength is in Trillin’s honesty and vulnerability when talking about his marriage to Alice. He writes about their relationship with deep admiration and love, highlighting Alice’s intelligence, wit, and kindness.

Trillin also shares many anecdotes about their life together, such as their travels, Alice’s love for jewelry, and their joint obsession with trying out new restaurants in New York City. The book’s weakness is its brevity, which left me craving more details about Alice’s life and character.

However, Trillin’s writing is so evocative that even the briefest descriptions of Alice and their life together are vivid and memorable. Additionally, the book does not provide much context on Alice’s world outside of her marriage, which is something readers may find lacking.

Trillin’s writing style is elegant and moving, and he is an expert in timing and delivering poignant lines. One particular line from the book that resonated with me was when Trillin wrote about how Alice viewed her illness: “She never wanted to know what state she was in, metaphorically speaking.” This line underscores Alice’s strength and determination to keep on living even during dark times.

Additionally, About Alice has a significant cultural significance as a love letter, one that celebrates a woman’s life rather than mourning her death. The book presents an unconventional memoir, one that doesn’t follow the traditional form of a life story yet still manages to construct a compelling portrait of the author and his beloved late wife.

Overall, About Alice by Calvin Trillin is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to love and loss. The book is recommended for fans of memoirs about marriage, love, and loss, and those looking for a short yet impactful read.

I give the book a score of 9.0/10.