Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Looking Back: A Book of Memories - Lois Lowry

Summary:  People are constantly asking two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry where she gets her ideas. In this fascinating memoir, Lowry answers this question, through recollections of childhood friends and pictures and memories that explore her rich family history. She recounts the pivotal moments that inspired her writing, describing how they magically turned into fiction along the complicated passageway called life. Lowry fans, as well as anyone interested in understanding the process of writing fiction, will benefit from this poignant trip through the past and the present of a remarkable writer.  (Summary from and image from

My Review:  If you weren't aware of how artful, intentional, and well-spoken Lois Lowry is, I can't imagine you'll be that way for long after opening this book.  It has been one of those books that upon reflecting I see more and more intentional craft in how she picked her pictures, ordered them, wrote about them, and displayed them throughout her book.

It's not a typical memoir or auto-biography.  You can tell she has chosen very specifically what to share and no more, no less.  It's a perfect representation of how she writes her books as well--carefully crafted, revised, reinvisioned, and edited to as close to perfection in writing as possible.  There is a clear structure, self imposed, that sets up the reader to see how she laced each section with quotes from the books she wrote with pictures and commentaries to match.  She hints in the beginning that the pictures she shares are in response to the questions she's had from people asking her where she gets her ideas for her stories.  Nothing is explicit.  And while Lowry shares personal pieces of her life, she also weaves in her delicate touch of the disappointments in life.  One will have no question as to how Lowry can have real life experience with tragedy and loss, but also how she has lived in a way that is intentional and loving.

Lowry has a way of dealing with difficult subject matter in a way that is meaningful for children and yet appropriate.  This book is no different, as it touches on war, death, change, the unknown, sibling relationships, etc.  It inspired me, uplifted me, and made me want to write my own version for my life.  Lowry is a gift to literature.

Rating: 5 Stars

Sum it up:  A patch-work quilted piece of memories and pictures of an amazing life.

1 comment:

Stef said...

I really love her books. I will add this one to my Goodreads list.


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