Saturday, July 17, 2010

About Alice

I picked up About Alice by Calvin Trillin on sale.  I had a $50 gift card from Chapters that I wanted to use online and was searching for sale books at the right price to make up the transaction balance.

Anyway, I had never heard of Calvin Trillin having never read The New Yorker where he's a staff writer.  About Alice is a short volume that reads like a funny, anecdotal love letter he wrote in memory of his wife Alice, who he adored.  She died in 2001 waiting for a heart transplant after 25 years of battling lung cancer.

This is a lovely story that can be read in one sitting.  I was so inspired by how Trillin recounts their relationship that I'm rather curious to search out some of his previous efforts to learn more, including Alice, Let's Eat.

The photo to the left of Alice and Calvin Trillin is from the book's back cover.  From the dust jacket:

In Calvin Trillin's antic tales of family life, Alice was portrayed as the wife who had "a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day" and the mother who thought that if you didn't go to every performance of your child's school play, "the county will come and take the child." Now, five years after her death, her husband offers this loving portrait of Alice Trillin off the page - an educator who was equally at home teaching at a university or a drug treatment center, a gifted writer, a stunningly beautiful and thoroughly engaged woman who, in the words of a friend, managed to "navigate the tricky waters between living a life you could be proud of and sill delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in."
Though it deals with devestating loss, About Alice is a love story, chronicaling a romance that began at a Manhattan party when Calvin Trillin desperately tried to impress a young woman who "seemed to glow."
"You have never again been as funny as you were that night," Alice would say, twenty or thirty years later.
"You mean I picked in December of 1963?"
"I'm afraid so."

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