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The Journal Keeper: A Memoir

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Journal Keeper: A Memoir.pdf | Language: ENGLISH

Essayist Phyllis Theroux has long captivated readers with her pitch-perfect rendering of the inner lives of American women. The Journal Keeper is a memoir of six years in her life. A natural storyteller, Theroux slips her arm companionably into yours, like an old friend going for a stroll. But Theroux’s stride is long, her eye sharp, and she swings easily between subjects that occupy us all: love, loneliness, growing old, financial worries, spiritual growth, and watching her remarkable mother prepare for death. Theroux began to keep a journal when she was in distress. It saved her life by helping her to see circumstances more clearly. With nuggets of wisdom, The Journal Keeper is a rich feast from a writing life—with a surprising romantic twist. But it was not until Theroux sat down to edit her journals for publication did she realize, in her words, “that a hand much larger and more knowing than my own was guiding my life and pen across the page.” She makes a good case for this being true for us all.

Writing a journal is an intensely personal act, an exercise in which one’s most private thoughts and painful experiences can be set forth through an act of deliberate self-examination. So when a writer of Theroux’s stature chooses to share such introspective feelings with the world, readers are afforded an unparalleled opportunity to observe how such crystalline powers of observation are developed and nurtured. Friendships, finances, homes, health: all have gloriously embraced her or just as unceremoniously abandoned her. Through it all, however, one constant remained: Theroux’s steadfast devotion to recording her emotions and impressions in journals, which proved to be a haven where she could reflect upon and retreat from life’s challenges in order to discover paths of clarity and purpose. A subtle and sympathetic witness, Theroux is an equally ardent proponent of meeting confrontations head-on. Editing more than six years of her personal reflections, Theroux goes public in this elegiac memoir of love and loss, an elegant tribute to the resiliency of human nature. --Carol Haggas “[Theroux] excels at closely observed and elegantly expressed portraits of domestic life that fondly recall the tradition of E.B. White. Theroux is a lovely writer…The best thing about The Journal Keeper is the way it keeps us hopeful—and expectant—about what will happen next.”—Danny Heitman, Christian Science Monitor“Theroux seems to possess a certain calmness and wisdom…[The Journal Keeper] is full of small, lyrical insights.”—Juliet Wittman, The Washington Post“In addition to offering her smart observations on issues that concern us, too, [Theroux] opens a window on an intelligent kind of journal keeping, the kind that relies on considered thoughts instead of rants…Theroux possess all the field marks of a good writer: Her images and metaphors are so good they glow; her descriptions give us a sense of the place she inhabits…[Her] advice—‘Lean toward the light’ and make it a place ‘to save small pieces of beauty’—is unnecessary. With The Journal Keeper, she has already shown us how.”—Jann Malone, Richmond Times-Dispatch“Captivating…a multi-dimensional pleasure…Theroux offers us a multilayered view of herself that is at once whimsical and profound…whatever her subject—growing old, spiritual growth, life in a small town, her students and teaching life, even a new romantic passion—Theroux is able to reach deep inside and step outside herself with inspiring aplomb.”—Linda Stankard, Bookpage“When a writer of Theroux’s stature chooses to share such introspective feelings with the world, readers are afforded an unparalleled opportunity to observe how such crystalline powers of observation are developed and nurtured…Editing more than six years of her personal reflections, Theroux goes public in this elegiac memoir of love and loss, an elegant tribute to the resiliency of human nature.”—Booklist“I loved this singularly honest and graceful book. The Journal Keeper reminds us that there is no such thing as an ordinary moment, and certainly no such thing as an ordinary life.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love“In lovely, straightforward prose, Theroux speaks honestly about the quotidian and miraculous aspects of loss and new chances. It’s all here—births, deaths and marriages—and the reader is invited into the intimacies of a world that is both familiar and full of surprises.”—Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge“What a wonderful, wonderful book! I felt like I was on a little journey. It really made me think beyond the page. The Journal Keeper reads like a case study of a person’s life. You will read it more than once.”—Amy Sedaris, author of the New York Times best-selling I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence“If I were in one of Phyllis Theroux’s writing classes, she surely would disapprove of my using seven enthusiastic adjectives all in a row. But no fewer could do justice to The Journal Keeper, her open-hearted, honest, honorable, wise, generous, brave and utterly captivating book which sheds a clarifying light on the pain and possibilities present in the third-third of our lives. Read it. You’ll love it, and her, and your own newly promising future.”—Judith Viorst, best-selling author of Necessary Losses and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day “The Journal Keeper mesmerized me! There’s the double narrative of the writing life and the life going on around Theroux that is utterly absorbing. I read it straight through in twenty-four hours and could not put it down.”—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You & Yours

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Book details

  • PDF | 305 pages
  • Atlantic Monthly Press (February 23, 2010)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biographies & Memoirs

Read online or download a free book: The Journal Keeper: A Memoir


Review Text

  • By Kerry L Daniel on August 6, 2010

    I first got to know this author while reading her article in the "Why We Write" column of a recent issue of Poets & Writers magazine. I was immediately drawn to the lyrical quality of her writing, which spoke to my heart in many ways. I felt I was enjoying afternoon tea with a good friend, sharing experiences and secrets at a level rarely achieved in friendships today. Her honesty, warmth, compassion, and humility drew me in completely. When I came to the end I didn't want to say goodbye, so I went online and found "The Journal Keeper: A Memoir" at the Kindle bookstore. My Kindle was practically virgin; I'd downloaded a few free classics and one awful fiction book that I couldn't get through and deleted. I was ready to read something contemporary and brilliant. This was the perfect book companion for that moment.I love reading autobiographies and memoirs. I must admit, though, that I'm weary of reading stories of tortured drug addicts, unwed mothers, and child abuse victims. These types of memoirs swamp the bookstores, while there's a seeming dearth of published life stories that evolve from joy, discovery, imagination, and inspiration.I knew reading the first few paragraphs that Phyllis Theroux's "Journal Keeper" was just what I was looking for. And once I started, I couldn't put it down. She speaks about her struggles with issues universal to everyone, especially "baby boomers": divorce, aging parents, personal aging, and letting children find their wings. She also shares her joy in discovering new veins of creativity in her soul at a time in life when many might think they're ready for "the pasture." Her writing style is charming, enchanting, warm and deeply personal. A more distinctive voice you won't find anywhere!I, too, am a writer. I've struggled for years getting my memoir down on paper. Suddenly I'm aware of the ticking clock, the hourglass gobbling the last grains of sand. Theroux's book was such an inspiration. As soon as I finished it, I picked up my memoir pages where I'd left off and started writing again. And I've also begun keeping a journal of my own.If you enjoy reading memoirs, especially those that let you really snuggle into the heart of the writer, I highly recommend "The Journal Keeper."

  • By A New West Coast Journaler on March 4, 2010

    The Journal Keeper has been a personal book of inspiration for me. The writing is marvelous. It is for everyone. If I had had the opportunity to read it years ago I might have been able to hear my own voice. "The Journal Keeper" has given voice to the silence within me. It has led me to offer it as a gift to many women in my life and as one of them said last night when we were talking about the book and the author, " The Journal Keeper is like a warm blanket I can wrap myself in every night. I eagerly anticipate turning the pages and being swept away by the author's life and wisdom." I believe she captured it perfectly. Few books have had such a profound impact on me. There are classics, yes, but The Journal Keeper deserves a shelf of its own. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone, it is the perfect gift because it's meant to be shared - just as the author shared a glimpse of her inner soul with all of us.

  • By Guest -Machel Shull on December 23, 2013

    This book may be the reason I am in love with my Kindle app on my Samsung. I found THE JOURNAL KEEPER based on suggested reading from other books I had purchased through amazon. I sampled away. And, I couldn't wait for this beautiful book to arrive in the mail. I had no idea that this book would strike a cord so deep with me. Phyllis Theroux has been writing for many years. Yet, I just discovered her so I will be ordering her other books soon.In The JOURNAL KEEPER you are given an up close and personal glimpse of Phyllis's daily life and routine when she was taking care of her mother at the end of her life. Their snippets of conversation, the local town feel and Phyllis's down to earth, sharp style of writing had me slowing down my reading speed so I could drink in each word with love and tenderness.The image of Phyllis as a young mom lying down in the cool grass in a park looking up at the stars and wondering about her meaning, the meaning of life and really where is this all headed, just really connected to my core. I have been there, too. Those same thoughts.If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this book, yet, it's one for deep readers, deep thinkers and those that don't just want to swim in the shallow end of the pool. I almost hate reviewing this book because it is out of the league of reviews. It feels to special to be sitting her on the Amazon shelves...(Elizabeth Gilbert endorsement is on the cover, it reads, "I loved this singularly honest and graceful book. The Journal Keeper reminds us that there is no such ting as an ordinary moment, and certainly no such thing as an ordinary life."

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