Article written

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life 2


by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

There are so many memoirs being published these days that the ones I read sometimes blend into one gigantic life story in my head, but there’s no way I’m going to confuse Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life with any other memoir any time soon.  I had forgotten, until I reread it recently, what a delight it was to spend time with this self-described “ordinary” person, learning her quirks and hang-ups, her likes and dislikes, her everyday (and not) adventures (including the inspired way she attempted to get out of paying a parking ticket—you’ll love it, trust me), all arranged, encyclopedia-style, from A (“Amy” ;“Anxious, Things That Make Me”; “Ayn Rand”) to Y (“You”), with appropriate cross-references and clever drawings to supplement the text.  To get a sense of Rosenthal’s writing style (and humor), here’s how the Foreword to the book begins:

I was not abused, abandoned, or locked up as a child. My parents were not alcoholics, nor were they ever divorced or dead. We did not live in poverty, or in misery, or in an exotic country.  I am not a misunderstood genius, a former child celebrity, or the child of a celebrity. I am not a drug addict, sex addict, food addict, or recovered anything. If I indeed had a past life, I have no recollection of who I was.

I have not survived against all odds.
I have not lived to tell.
I have not witnessed the extraordinary.

This is my story.

subscribe to comments RSS

There are 2 comments for this post

  1. Dawn Spitz says:

    Who could write a more inviting beginning to a biography? I’m
    captivated already. Wish I’d thought of that.

  2. Sarah says:

    One of my favorite entries in this book is: “GAS TANK Every.
    Single. Solitary. Time I go to get gas I have to lean out the
    window to see which side the tank is on.” It caught my eye (and
    funny bone) when I first flipped through the book, and it made me
    want to read the rest. I’m glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed it. A
    clever twist on biography.

Please, feel free to post your own comment

* these are required fields