The Book that Made Me by Judith Ridge


Genres: Non-fiction, Anthology
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 14th 2017


Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Authors are most often also avid readers – and as such the books they read usually influence their lives. Thirty-one authors write about the books that inspired them, changed them or just made them happy. From first childhood reads to books read in middle age, every reader knows the thrill of finding a book that stays with you.

There are a wealth of different stories in this book, along with comics interspersed throughout. The Book that Made Me captures the feelings all readers know of connecting with a specific book and knowing that you have been forever changed. The stories do start to feel a little blended after a while with ones being slightly too similar to distinguish.

Perhaps the most interesting stories are those written by authors of colour. Through these authors stories the importance of diversity in literature is clearly showcased. Several of the authors struggled to find people of their gender, religion or race in books when they were young. Some write because they want to see themselves in stories now in a way they were not able to as a child.

The stories are poignant, funny, touching and in general very well brought together. The childhood photos of the authors bring an incredible power to the stories that follow making it easy to picture the children they once were. However, too may of the stories felt similar to me – of course everyone’s experiences are unique but a few seemed to hit many of the same notes.

I do feel that this anthology will be better received by older readers who might have read more of the books mentioned (I felt very little connection with most of the life-changing books if I’d read them at all) or for fans of any particular author listed. It’s thrilling to read about other people who love books you also love deeply, or to dive into the mind of your favourite author.

The book is interesting either way, and a short read, but because the authors are strangers to me and the books were not ones I adored, it didn’t quite hit a home run. I still deeply enjoyed several stories, but many of then run together already.

For Fans of: The Secret Loves of Geek Girls


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