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About Alice by Calvin Trillin
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About Alice

by Calvin Trillin

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Funny, honest, and heartbreaking tribute from one of my favorite writers to his late wife. Alice Trillin starred in many of Calvin's essays about food and family, but this book reveals much about her personal and professional background I didn't know, and provides a fuller portrait of her intelligent, thoughtful character. Alas, this book is too short, but at least I know now to look for articles and books written by Alice, and I may revisit Calvin's pieces about her and his daughters as well. ( )
  bostonian71 | Jul 8, 2014 |
Part memoir, part tribute, but too short...: The New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin has often written about his wife, Alice. While I haven't read any of his previous works, I think he must have outdone himself in About Alice. About Alice is moving, it is elegant, but unfortunately, at 96 pages, it is also very short.

About Alice is part memoir, part tribute and all love story. Trillin met his future wife at a party and instantly fell in love. Friends claimed that they were George Burns and Gracie Allen, with Alice playing George. These two opposites proved to be the perfect compliment. Not only was Alice a talented writer as well, but also a dedicated teacher. Their happiness was threatened in 1976 when Alice was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 38 and given only two years to live. Amazingly, she survived another 25 years before succumbing to heart disease--her heart being damaged by the radiation treatment that saved her life years before.

It is obvious how much of a hole Alice's death has left in Trillin's life. Not only was she his wife, but he also depended on her to proofread, edit, and critique his many works. In the dedication of the first book published after her death, Trillin writes "I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice." Many women would be envious to have a husband who could write so eloquently about his love for his wife.

After reading About Alice, I'm impressed enough with both Trillin's writing and Alice that I plan to read some of his other works including Travels with Alice, and Alice, Let's Eat.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
Honest, thoughtful, sad. I listened the audio book which was read by the author. ( )
  KristySP | Apr 21, 2013 |
I wasn't sure how Trillin's tribute to his beloved late wife Alice would be. I listened to the unabridged audio, read by Trillin. It was, in a word, extraordinary. There's something magical about writers who can distill their pain into words which give if not meaning then explication to the exigencies of grief. Brief, bereft and brave, this little gem lingers. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Calvin Trillin always writes well, but this book is one of his very best, as well it should be. It is his tribute to his late wife, and will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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For our grandchildren - Izzy and Toby and Rebecca and Nate
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There was one condolence letter that made me laugh.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Calvin Trillin's story of his courtship and marriage after his wife, Alice's, death
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0739342169, Audio CD)

In Calvin Trillin’s antic tales of family life, she 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 would 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 still delighting in the many things there are to take pleasure in.”

Though it deals with devastating loss, About Alice is also a love story, chronicling 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 peaked in December of 1963?”
“I’m afraid so.”

But he never quit trying to impress her. In his writing, she was sometimes his subject and always his muse. The dedication of the first book he published after her death read, “I wrote this for Alice. Actually, I wrote everything for Alice.”

In that spirit, Calvin Trillin has, with About Alice, created a gift to the wife he adored and to his readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:42 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a tribute to his late wife, Alice, and their relationship, the author celebrates the life of a remarkable woman who played a vital role in his life.

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